Amber of the Division of Educational Studies shared this disturbing tidbit with the Student Re-visioning Committee last night: Challenge and Champions, a summer academic enrichment and athletic program for middle school students co-sponsored by the DES and the graduate school. Like many DES initiatives, this one stemmed from an awareness of profound inequalities in the existing education system:
Our vision is that all middle-grades youth, regardless of income, ethnicity or home life can work toward increased: skills as a student, confidence as a learner, cultural competency in a global society, and comfort with taking on leadership…. We accept students with physical disabilities and learning differences.
Only 10 years old, the program has already been ranked one of the top 5 summer learning institutes nationwide. The teachers are M.A.T. (Masters of Arts in Teaching) students who are up on the latest research.
Dean Tedesco has quietly promised to maintain the C&C program in the absence of a Division of Educational Studies. Yes, it is better than stamping out the program entirely. But what will the name and the legacy mean in the wake of the cuts? The faculty who designed and ran the initiative would still be laid off, and the student teachers may not have received professional training.
Amber expressed a sentiment that’s been on many of our minds: Deans Tedesco and Forman are increasingly eager to appease graduate students in “token” ways. Making the best out of a bad situation? Or just giving up?