Wednesday, February 22, 2006

An Actual Letter to Chris Hawkins-Long

Dear Chris Hawkins-Long,

     What about Shimer College and the Future? Really, much more than semantic, I think. It is an admission. The most notable aspect of the dialogue is the powerful influence of money. Not monies that may or may not have moved Shimer but the influence of a global economy on the most powerful nation in the world. The admission is that this new world is about educating people that help other people get rich. That is what the society “needs”. The future of Shimer is surely about the needs of the society. Society wants employees with a less ethereal focus. Employees focused on a very old Protestant view of success and wealth and the wealthy.

     What does Shimer serve now? Is it still about a better education? Is it still about a more holistic approach to education? As I may have mentioned before, I am a CPS teacher. My school most definitely reflects the economics of the surrounding area. The neighborhood is poor, the school is poor. Waukegan is poor. Shimer’s move was about making sure that school was financially sound—not about loftier goals of say: Putting power in the hands of the people.

     If we are going to discuss Shimer’s Future I feel we must talk about the paradigm shift that is fast making good public education a thing of the past and any good education something for rich people. Let’s talk about preparing students to do battle in a society where only the wealthy can run for or hold high political office.

     I know that someone mentioned earlier in this blog that corporate America had integrity in regards to its stand on good writing skills et al. If I had had time that day I would have pointed out that my experience in corporate America revealed it to be the home of whispering religious conservatives. I heard the disparaging remarks about homosexuals, African Americans, and cursing about political correctness as an Albatross around the necks of plain talking people. Certainly, it is only my experience and even worse my perspective on my experience. But the experience was sadly disheartening. I lost faith in the ability of people to make healthy decisions in the spirit and tradition of Rousseau.

How can you condemn all women to the boundaries of a faith they may not even share?

Why can’t CEO’s be held accountable for screwing up and what sense does it make to pay millions to executives of a failing company and blame the failure on the pension and insurance benefits or 500 or so $50-70,000.00 a year employees?

At the rate of regentrification in Chicago, IIT, in a very short period of time will be serving a very affluent community. I know because I have lived through several waves of regentrification.

Shimer was more than an education to me. It was a cause. Yeah, I’d like to know. Exactly what is the great plan for Shimer in Chicago?

P.S. It was Sara devil’s idea to change the name. I thought “What’s in a name?” Then I thought about you Chris. Really what is the future of Shimer College? What can we expect the school to maintain in regards to its integrity? What about the leadership?
What the hell does the school stand for now anyway?

Fight the Power!

1 comment :

Hitokirishinji said...

IIT has a strong tradition of helping students who are not wealthy. Ask almost any student at IIT and they will most likely have some sort of substantial scholarship. Most of us come to IIT because we are not very affluent and IIT provided us with fiscal feasability so that we could attend.

Also, IIT was founded by a Philip Armour, the famous chicago meat packer, who donated a million dollars when he heard a sermon by a priest that claimed with only a million dollars, an institution could be created opened to all people regardless of background. I don't think that this has changed much and to me, it is an important part of IIT serving to educate everyone.