[eDebate] Challenge to the Community-Response to Scott/Omri

V I Keenan vikeenan
Wed Apr 4 16:44:25 CDT 2007

um . . .  reading is fundamental, yeah . . ..  too bad that not really what
the SAT (damn, it's already capitalized) is assessing. If you need me to
actually explain this, I'm just going to be sad.

Grades may be the valid point of the arg . . . except I was sort of hoping
that the community learned how screwed up the educational system was.  Did
Scott really write this response after a year of Milliken?  Because it just
seems to bolster Andy's claim that we may not have actually learned about
the issues involved on the topic afterall (but I know about the EPA and
states rights!  whoop-di-do).  Oh, and we COULD talk about how behavioral
assumptions affect grades in class (ie: male students who perform better on
standardized tests may still get lower grades in classes due to teacher
biases and behavioral interpretations), but again, this would involve
nuanced and evidenced discussion of educational inequality we just don't
seem to be capable of having.

There are ACTUAL EDUCATIONAL attempts to recognize the issue Andy brings
up.  It's why there are specific programs like HEOP in NY State which
acknowledge that certain educational communities are pretty abysmal, and
offer an incentive to both private and public universities to accept
students who demonstrate academic potential in other ways (perhaps debate)
BEYOND the numbers. (In fact, HEOP is only invoked for students with below
average SAT scores and lower GPAs.  C-STEP is a similar state program, but
with less scholarship $.)  Is it too much to ask to examine what other sorts
of opportunities might exist for students and PUBLICIZE or to see where
there is a DEFICIT of opportunities and try to do better?  (I think some
people call that a plan . . . .)

And the truth is that there may be opportunities for all of the students in
question to debate in college - but there is a bigger question of equality
of those opportunities and where the scholarship money is at and to whom it
is offered.  Debating, vs. debating for a program with resources, vs. a
scholarship for debating so you don't have to work just to pay tuition is an
issue of equity we should at least examine and question, and not just blow
off because it's raised by someone you may deem controversial.

For every Dave Steinberg who goes to bat, there are some other names I will
not mention who don't even ACKNOWLEDGE when they are told that someone with
a decent debate record and from an underrepresented group has been ADMITTED
to their precious prestigious institution because the issues of diversity
and representation are not a personal priority, so don't even pretend that
we can't do better as a community folks.  Throwing up our hands and going
"they can't read" is BS . . . and sort of insulting.  Not sort of, sorry,

[Plus, potential pro-athletes being able to read and reason might be good in
the event they ever have a contract to sign, or, I don't know, ARE GIVEN A
PLAY BOOK.  Let's lose the damn hyperbole in favor of constructive

Look, let's just be honest with each.  Either you look at Louden's awesome
job of documenting the NDT through photography and you get why we keep
having this conversation as a community, or you don't care.  Just don't
pretend if you don't care that it's not actually an issue.  Otherwise,
productive conversation without personal attack anyone?  . . . .

Bueller?  Bueller?

Vik Keenan
Director - Baruch Debate, CUNY
Assoc. Director - New York Coalition of Colleges
212/992-9641 or 347/683-6894
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