CCC Makes the Reader

I was a little puzzled when the Chancellor said, in her speech yesterday, that some people are afraid that CCC will become a trade school or something like that. I had to go back to HWC at lunch to get something from my office, so I did and, while there, picked up a Reader for the train ride and stumbled on an article all about Reinvention and came across this paragraph in an article on CCC and Reinvention:

And that’s what’s making some people nervous. “Economic engine” seems to run counter to the long-time mission of the City Colleges of Chicago, which will celebrate its hundredth birthday this year and has been, since its founding, a gateway not just to a job but to broad educational and intellectual opportunity, regardless of social or economic status.

The question of whether the “People’s College” (its original name) should be a vocational school was chewed over at its birth by the likes of Jane Addams and William Rainey Harper—and discarded. In America, and in Chicago, city colleges would ensure a democracy of the mind. Vocational training was eventually added without changing that principle, at least in theory. But there’s a new, results-oriented trend in education that looks like it could turn community colleges into glorified job-training centers, providing a skilled workforce but “tracking” low-income students into dead-end jobs. These institutions would be run like businesses, with the decision-making power in the hands of executives rather than academics and an emphasis on efficiency. Serendipitous intellectual inquiry and academic autonomy would be luxuries and scarce.

And then it made sense. Read the rest HERE.

Sunday Reading

I usually work late on Wednesdays, which has the nice benefit of affording me a copy of the new Chicago Reader to check out on the train ride home. I always look forward to it, if only to know what great things I’m missing in the city every week.

This week’s issue had an article about something I’d never heard of, AREA Chicago, which was in the news for the release of its 10th issue of an amazing-sounding Collaborative Art and Information Project and because of its pending re-organization due to the leaving of its founder and leader.

The article in the reader was captivating enough that I tore it out so I’d remember to check out the AREA Web site. Here’s how the author of the piece in the Reader, Deanna Isaacs, described AREA:

AREA—the acronym stands for Art, Research, Education, and Activism—is a sometimes bewildering biannual that dedicates each issue’s hodgepodge of essays, advocacy reporting, interviews, and art (often in the form of maps or photo essays) to a different subject. It’s written entirely by volunteers who run the gamut from academics to sex workers and always includes a fair number of publishing virgins. In the five years since it was started by editor Daniel Tucker, AREA—including its website and related projects and events—has become a nexus for all things arty, green, active, and progressive, a touchstone for and celebration of the city’s scattered, diverse social justice community.

I finally had a chance to pull up  their site today, where I found the site for Issue #10 (and, as the article promised, most of the content of the issue). The title of Issue #10? Institutions and Infrastructures. A timely topic for the bunch of us, no?

Even better, it was full of great (by which I mean thoughtful/thought-provoking topics, perspectives, and possibilities) stuff–like this paean to the post office and this on the architecture of invisibility and this on the fine/non- line between performance art and leadership–and I haven’t yet come close to looking at all of it.

I stopped reading after those three because: A) I want to get an actual copy and see what it looks and feels like, not to mention provide some support; and B) I wanted to go back to Issue #1 and start from the beginning.

Happy reading…

Guide to Community Supported Agriculture

I know a few people are out there doing or thinking about doing teaching related to food, and I know a few people out there who take considerable interest in ecology related issues, as well as health/wellness and the like.

There’s a growing literature of interest–ethical, economic, political, ecological–on food, health, and the politics of it all that makes doing so easier to do by the day. If you are a person who has been affected by any of the above, you might have attended last weekend’s FamilyFarmed Expo at UIC. If you missed that, though, you might want to check out the Chicago Reader’s guide to Community Supported Agriculture programs.

A short pitch: A CSA is a great investment, in my humble, and a sure fire way to make yourself eat more vegetables, which everyone should do. You can sign up for boxes of vegetables, meat, eggs, fruit and the rest, to be delivered or available for pickup at a farmer’s market weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, in the summer or year round. Of the CSA farms listed in the Reader article, I’ve bought from a bunch of them, but been a regular customer of Triple A Farms and Cedar Valley Sustainable Farms. My experience has been that they’re both great at what they do.