So, I was late to the meeting. The conference room/board room has a very formal layout. The Trustees sit in a row at a slightly curved long table outfitted with microphones. Behind them, hung from the ceiling are two large screens on which the proceedings are projected. Facing their table is a long straight table at which the City College Presidents sit. Monitors hang over this table on which the proceedings also appear. Surrounding these tables on three sides are rows of chairs for the City College employees and the public.
I think I was the only “public” there today.
When I arrived a faculty representative was in the middle of her presentation critiquing a new poster campaign urging one and all to report “waste” to the CCC Inspector General. The concern was that “waste” was not defined in any policy statement and so the campaign could become a witch-hunt.
Halfway through the agenda the Trustees went into executive session. Leaving all of the Presidents and the other forty or so CCC top administrators with what turned out to be about thirty minutes of chat among yourselves time. Doing the math I figure about twenty-five hours of highly paid time was being wasted during the executive session break.
My suggestion to the Trustees is that they have their executive session at the end of the meeting like some of the other boards do. That way the employees can go back to work.
The most interesting part of the meeting for this first time attendee was a presentation of the findings of a study of a remediation program being tested as part of the reinvention process for CCC. The study seemed to show that under-prepared students who participate in a series of tutor-led, Socratic-style, eight person remedial sessions augmented by computer-assisted instruction are able to improve their academic performance. Was this a surprising outcome? Too bad the Chicago Public Schools can’t provide this sort of learning/teaching experience to its tens of thousands of students.
The most startling thing I was told today by a couple of people at the meeting: The Chicago Public Schools don’t have a general performance goal of, for example, making sure every student is college or trade school ready when they complete high school. Really?
When I left the building I asked what happens to the information they gathered when security swiped my drivers license. I was told the info is deleted at the end of the day. Hmmm.