Wednesday, November 4, 2009

An opinion post . . .

Listener Katrien Vance took me to task as the editor of WMRA's Civic Soapbox for airing Bob Boucheron's essay last week recounting his experience with Career Switcher, a government-sponsored program for already-educated adults who want to become public school teachers.

In case you missed it, here's a link to the text of that essay. And here's what Ms. Vance, who's a teacher herself, had to say.
"I enjoy Civic Soap Box and think it's a great opportunity for people to speak about issues that concern or delight them.  I was disappointed, though, with a recent program in which a Charlottesville architect used the Soap Box to denigrate the Career Switchers program at Blue Ridge Community College.  I am not associated with that program in any way; I have a colleague that is enrolled in it, but I know very little about it and have no vested interest in it.  As a teacher at a private school, I have taken no education courses myself, and I tend to look at them with suspicion if not my own snobbery.  But Mr. Boucheron's public complaining seemed an inappropriate use of the Soap Box. I agree that aspects of his program sounded frustrating.  But why was he given three minutes to publicly complain about a program he attended?  Will the Career Switchers program have equal time to respond?  Actually, I doubt they have time--they are teachers!

"I could go on to list things Mr. Boucheron said that seemed arrogant, snobbish, and completely closed-minded to the experience of learning to be a teacher, but it isn't really with him I have the argument.  My argument is with your choice to give him air time.  I didn't hear that he had any larger point to make except that he tried this program and it was bad. How does that serve the community?  Why didn't he air his grievances with the program itself, privately?

"I have no problem with your airing essays on things that are controversial or might spark arguments.  But if someone is going to publicly criticize and denigrate a school, a program, or a person--with no attempt to make something good come of it-- I hope you will think twice about having your Soap Box be his or her forum.

"Since I am someone who believes that you shouldn't complain unless you have a solution, I promise you that I am working on a Soap Box essay of my own.  Maybe it's harder than I think it is!"
I think Ms. Vance makes interesting point, one that's well worth discussing by the WMRA community. Which is exactly what this blog is for.

So, you got anything to say about either Mr. Boucheron's essay or Ms. Vance's reaction to it?  If so, I (and probably everyone who participates in this blog) would certainly like to hear it.

Lay on, Macduffs. . .

1 comment:

  1. I'm pleased to say I got a call from the spokesperson for the Community College system, asking for air-time to address (refute?) the problems Mr. Boucheron found during his experience with Career Switcher. Hopefully that essay will run next week. M