Chicago area college teachers discuss recent grievances
BROADCAST: 1969 | DURATION: 00:52:15
Discussing the role of the teacher and the Chicago Junior College teachers' grievances with Dr. Mary Mainwaring, Gordon Murray, Dr. Peter Senn and Dr. Morris Springer.
Tap within the transcript to jump to that part of the audio.
Studs Terkel What is a teacher? This is the question always comes up about-- What should a teacher be? Whether it be elementary school, high school, junior college, college, you always think of, read more and more today of the young and schools and dropouts and we hear too little perhaps about the teacher himself. Now lately the teacher, particularly junior college teachers in Chicago have been in the news because they've been involved with the problem. The problem I suppose organizing, being members of the union and perhaps we can have someone outline the basis of this problem. We have four teachers, four junior college teachers here in Chicago with different points of view being offered. Dr. Mary Mainwaring who teaches at Wilson Junior. Dr. Mainwaring yours, you tea--Your audio--
Studs Terkel Well perhaps we could even ask you about audio visual work and its impact on teaching, later on, perhaps peripheral to this particular subject. Gordon Murray, Amundson Mayfair Branch, you teach, Mr. Murray?
Studs Terkel And we've been reading in the papers, and perhaps been settled perhaps not, the junior college teachers seem to have a beef don't they, a specific one? Suppose we sort of outline it and from this will come different attitudes of the four panelists here concerning the teacher.
Dr. Peter Senn Well I can kick that off. The teaching load in the Chicago Junior College system is 15 hours to give you one example Studs. It's been 15 hours for almost 50 years. There has not been any improvement in these hours in almost half a century. It's unbelievable but it's true. We have a calendar that we're trying to improve for the students because our calendar is now out of gear with all the students, with the, pardon me, with the calendar of the schools to which our students will go. Our pay is lagging. We used to be A by the American Association of University Professors rating, now at the higher levels we're down to B and C and we have a list of such grievances like that. They're mostly related to improving quality education which has been badly neglected by the Chicago Board. And I don't think anybody disagrees with that including the state legislature and Mayor Daley. And as a result of this the teachers have felt that since nobody seemed to pay any attention to quality education we had a very grave responsibility to try to improve these conditions for our students. Now some of the benefits will redound to us but the central aim of those of us working for this improvement is our students. And you know that ties in with your earlier question, what is a teacher. Well in my view a teacher's got something to do with children student's education.
Studs Terkel What are your thoughts concerning this? At the beginning of course we'll identify each of the members, say your piece perhaps, what do you feel like, and then we'll just leave it wide open to everyone. Mr. Murray you were thinking.
Dr. Gordon Murray Well I was thinking that don't we have comparable situations in many institutions in this country with regard to this 15 hour teaching load. [I mean?] Dr. Mainwaring mentioned some time ago that conditions were similar at Northwestern or perhaps far worse. And yet these other schools seem to be able to abide with these situations without resorting to drastic measures such as strikes.
Dr. Gordon Murray Oh by no means, no. I think this is a situation that needs remedying. But what I'm saying is that this situation prevails. This is not unique just to our particular situation in the Chicago City Junior College. That other institutions have had similar situations or worse.
Dr. Morris Springer Well three to six hours means contact hours, actually teaching a class. Of course on the one hand I certainly would like to have the hours reduced but I'm a University of Chicago product and possibly citing the University of Chicago as the other extreme is stacking the cards a bit because there, this is one of these--University of Chicago was one of those prestigious institutions that's publish or perish. The reason they give you such a small program is that they expect you to distinguish yourself by publishing and you're supposed to be doing research. I don't think that anybody in a junior colleges, any of the deans would object if we were to appear in publications but their main aim is for us to be good teachers, at least so we've been told.
Dr. Morris Springer Yes.
Dr. Morris Springer Mmmhmm.
Dr. Morris Springer Yes.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Mr. Terkel, this 15 hour load sounds easy to people who are not college teachers but it involves all the correction and papers and all the preparation before lectures, making up your own tests in many instances, your own demonstrations, your own bibliographies for term papers for your people [to do?]. There's a great deal of preparation involved. There is a tremendous nervous strain in meeting in class, keeping it under control, especially if it's a large lecture section. It's terribly difficult to keep them working with you. It sounds like an easy job, 15 hours. It involves invariably at least three hours of preparation or correction for every contact hour.
Dr. Morris Springer And I think that what should be brought here now is not so much the question of the hours as the relation of the class hours, what we call contact hours, with the what you might call the residuals. We're all of us here I think old enough to remember when pedagogy meant meeting your class, preparing for a class, grading papers. But with the tremendous I would say invasion of colleges by students ever since the war, whether you are elementary or high school or junior college, you are expected to be an armchair psychiatrist and a counselor and you're supposed to have enough--I would say in some cases you are expected to stand in loco parentis. You're supposed to have office hours and you're supposed to see to it that you either take care of the problems of certain students that you have or send them to the right person. Pedagogy, the concept of what is required of a college teacher, has ballooned to the point where if you don't watch out you can get so involved in their problems that you sometimes crowd out your own. So the whatever contact hours are taken as a base here have to be seen in the in the light of what other demands are automatically made on your time.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Yes. Only today before I came down I was handing out to all the department heads very detailed sheets and which must be listed every piece of equipment that the Board of Education has ever supplied to us through all these years. And they must be listed by commodity numbers and by the date when we received them so that someone can figure out how much they're worth. When we transfer from the Chicago Board of Education to a new Junior College Board of Education somebody wants to know what our net worth is [laughter]. It isn't much because one of the most conspicuous things about the Chicago City Junior College has been its lack of buildings. We are meeting in high school buildings at night or in--
Dr. Morris Springer Elementary.
Dr. Morris Springer I think you have one advantage over Mayfair. When Amundson expanded out from an evening school in the Amundson high school building over to the Mayfair, well now we've been in that building four or five years, and I think that it was just the year or two ago that they put in fountains that you didn't have to bend double to get to. It's still, I mean it's been quite makeshift.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Our building was supposed to be the Farragut Elementary School and it had the little fountains and the little tables and the little chairs too, everything for the little children. And I believe an enormous amount of money was spent converting it but it's still just a very old inadequate building.
Studs Terkel Course as I'm listening to our four teachers talk there seems to be agreement here as to what the grievance is and it's quite definite. Now at least the audience understands 15 hours does not mean 15 hours. Obviously means something close to 60, 65, and thus it obviously must affect the quality of the teacher and the--
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Well I don't think a union can get us buildings and I think buildings are our greatest need. And I don't feel that unions are wrong per se but strikes are impossible among college teachers. They will hurt only the students who can't afford it. They are nervous enough and struggling enough. There are other ways for college teachers to solve their problems than to threaten to strike or to strike. If you have read the book "The Academic Marketplace" you'll realize that all of the conditions of work in this system are well-known and published and everybody knows what they are when he starts to work. Nothing secret about it. And if you don't like it you don't have to work here.
Dr. Morris Springer Well I'd like to ask you something else. Evidently, well and I, it's my opinion that just about everybody who is in the colleges, that teachers up to a certain point don't envision themselves as union individuals and a striker as a priori, right?
Dr. Morris Springer I would say that we don't start off expecting to do this. But, and if I may give something in my own history and how I happen even to be sitting around this table. I am one of those phenomena known as a U of C Ph.D. and I've always had the concept of myself as being stuck in my books which I really have been and I guess everybody has his threshold. And this business of teachers' rights when the this union began stepped on a very sensitive corn, and what I'd like to do is to bring in a little bit of my personal history to point this up. I spent 17 years of my life on and off either on a part time or full time basis in Jewish education. Now when you are religious education the parents are essentially putting into your hands the religious and moral training of their children. And I think their religious teachers whether a Lutheran, Catholic, Jewish, or whatever you may be work for low salaries generally, are expected to, are expected to be very forbearing and self-sacrificing, and I, the, here in Chicago about five years ago or six years ago the teachers of the Orthodox day schools who are very dedicated, in desperation decided that they were going to strike. And I went to a few of the meetings and the attitude of the powers that be ranged from "Oh now come now really ladies and gentlemen, you can't really mean you're going to do this," which was a kind of patronizing looking down, to downright rough refusal with our demands. And 15 years ago when I came back from Europe from a Fulbright, my wife and I went to work in a Jewish day school in the city which I'd rather have remain nameless and we contracted for a certain salary, and at the end of the year the school ended up owing us $350. And after about two or three years we decided let's see if a sue scare won't bring something out of them. And I have retained in my files a letter from one of the Board of Directors and I think that a few of the sentences in here will show why the soul of a teacher can turn. [reading] "Before you came to the Hebrew Academy you probably checked its financial status"--
Dr. Morris Springer Yes. [reading] "And undoubtedly discovered that the school had not fulfilled its complete obligations that the teachers formerly engaged by the board of directors. You therefore entered into a contract with the school with full knowledge that perhaps at the termination of your year's service the school would be unable to meet the complete financial agreement made with you. Please believe me I do sympathize with you but the school thus far has only been able to meet its budget according to its income. You are very fortunate that the debt owed you is not any more [laughter] than the $350 [unintelligible]. In every business the proprietor must also figure out a certain percentage of loss." In other words we were being told that we should feel lucky that we were not stuck for more than $350. Now I'm trying, and I'm almost finished, to draw an analogy here between people who teach--If people who teach in a religious school because they themselves have the knowledge and the convictions that go with this religion, I think that if they finally organized and decided to strike and got some kind of rights that the secular ones who certainly there is some kind of a fortiori argument there. I think that as I say each person has his own his own boiling point and from whatever I've seen of the latest strike threats certainly every step was taken. We don't, I know I always conceived of possibly of unions and striking as being at least pink if not deep red. But then you discover when your own toes are stepped on then if you have some own convic--Your own convictions and opinions, that, well let me quote Dryden: "Beware the fury of a patient man."
Dr. Gordon Murray The wheels are really turning, I should tell you. Seems to me that in settling disputes of any kind or trying to settle grievances or problems, that resorting to things like strikes and wars are very poor ways to settle any kind of a dispute or crisis of this sort. That the professional people particularly are supposed to be people who use their mentalities rather than force and that it might be better to try to reason a way out of these things than to threaten people with a very powerful weapon called a strike. Even at people who resort to this strike have often wondered about its efficiency and whether it, the propriety of it. And in a learned profession or any kind of professional work it has always seemed to me that strikes are just something definitely out of place.
Dr. Peter Senn Well I'd like to respond to a couple of things. It seems to me we're all agreed and no reasonable observer could disagree that we have to better conditions and we're discussing here not the ends but the means. Now Mary suggested that if you don't like it here go somewhere else. I don't know that we need to spend a lot of time on that. Those of us who are interested in Chicago, who live in Chicago, who work here who make our life here have an interest in the children here. And when you say go somewhere else you're essentially saying abandon these kids to whatever their lot is. I would insist on throwing in again that a teacher's obligation is to his students, a professor's obligation. If the conditions are bad and they're hurting the students as they are under the present administration of the Chicago system then to go elsewhere is to abandon them to these things. Now having established that, the question is how do you go about improving it. You, it's been put forth here that strikes are not the way but what way is there if you have pleaded for 50 years with a group and they've turned you down. If you see a steady deterioration and you're turned down then I would say when all reasonable means fail you have to resort to whatever power you have. And I'd say one thing more because in my thinking as I say I insist on always relating the children and educational process to the teaching condition. What does it mean to a child as in Chicago when the school system is bad and not getting better that the teacher abandons the child, abandons concern, is unwilling to work for the betterment of the educational lot? This is my approach and so I would use the union as a means. Now nobody wants to strike but this is a means to an end and it's an important educational end that we're talking about.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring But it just happens to be illegal. I think my biggest objection to this kind of strike or threat is that it is against the law. If you'll excuse an analogy in my audio visual center they have a great many phonograph records. Many of them assigned listening in humanities and literature and foreign language and social science courses. And many of these students come in with little old tape recorders and they want to copy these records that they must listen to. And I say I'm sorry, they may not. It is a violation of copyright. And they say, Well what do you care about that? Let me copy it. What's the copyright to you? And I say, Well it's against the law for you to copy it. And I am not here to help you break the law. They still can't understand why I won't let them do it. And then I--
Dr. Gordon Murray I believe his reasoning here is of course that public employees, people who affect the lives of the rest of the population should be people who carry on with their jobs and not lay down their arms [and beat?] and quit when they don't like the way things are running--
Dr. Gordon Murray Mmmhmm.
Studs Terkel You know Mr. Murray raised an interesting point here, it's a philosophical point yet it's directly related I think to the core of this and concerns image, public image. You spoke earlier, professional people, the implication they perhaps are not quite the same as say blue collar in this respect.
Dr. Gordon Murray Absolutely. And this goes back to Dr. Senn's previous remark that if teachers cannot strive to correct their grievances what other recourse do they have. I would like to suggest that we have professional societies in the educational profession who are committed to reasoning and working together to intelligently try to solve their problems by other means than using this weapon of strike. And I would submit that people who are in the educational profession should join these societies, work to make them stronger, and avoid joining the unions who seem to be more concerned with the rights of their members than the rights of the people whom they are serving.
Dr. Morris Springer I don't feel quite as altruistic as that. When it comes to aquestion of image, here again I'd like to cite the, something that I, similar to what I cited before. I think that the question of the image of a teacher is, that is an idealistic hardworking individual who under no circumstances will as you say it "lay down his arms," is one that the powers that be I would dearly love to have us preserve but it has been proven over and over again when you were dealing with management that you very--this includes boards of education--that you can very seldom get anything out of them unless they're back to the wall. So when it comes down the last analysis they are saying to you you stay quietly and in a dignified manner in your corner and don't unionize and don't strike. This will equate you with the Reds, with blue collar workers and so on. You do it through it nice dignified channels, but we in the meantime are going to kick you in the shins but don't you dare kick back. You just simply turn the other cheek.
Male Voice Mmmhmm.
Dr. Morris Springer Something else. I think that the teacher's image should be changed, and here is the analogy I was speaking of before. The Arab-Israeli war for independence began in May of 1948 when the British left Palestine and it became Israel. And immediately of course the Jews began to--The Arabs attacked the Jews and there was this war. While at the high holy days following this attack the rabbi in my congregation made a remark that I have never forgotten which I think is comparable here. He said, I wonder if you realize that the word pogrom has now gone out of style because the word pogrom meant by definition Cossacks coming down a Jewish villages and murdering pillaging and the Jews just simply bowing their heads and not fighting back. Now this is possibly a bit overdramatized but I think that it is about time that the teachers quit turning the other cheek and letting the other guy who manages them use clout and never respond in kind of any circumstances.
Studs Terkel [Unintelligible]
Dr. Mary Mainwaring I've had much worse bosses. I used to make a living in the motion picture business making training films, filmstrips, and all that kind of thing. During the war and subsequently. T hose are really hard bosses and really hard jobs. You don't see any gray-haired people in them.
Studs Terkel Perhaps we should because in a way I think this is really the core of it, professional coming back again to Mr. Murray's comment and Dr. Mainwaring's as well as Peter Senn's and Morris Springer's differences of opinion, that we're talking now that a professional person as against someone else who may use another technique to win what he feels is his due. What were you thinking?
Dr. Peter Senn Well I want to get us semantically clear Studs on professionalism. That word has many meanings. I assume we're not referring to the oldest one in the world [laughter], because that's one, one meaning. Then, ballplayers are thought to be professional. That's another kind of meaning. And then the American Medical Association is often held to be the paradigm of professionalism meaning self-regulation, rules of ethics and the like, but it's very significant that with the case of the American Medical Association you have the most backward force in American medicine and it's held back social progress for years. So that if you, depending on your definition of professionalism and I reject the A.M.A. paradigm, I reject the oldest one in the world, and I reject the ballplayer image, what we may be talking about here is setting up a new image of a professional for a teacher and to me this would be close to something like a person very much concerned with his students, with what he's teaching them, with integrity. This is the image I like to project. But I didn't want to break in before we toss this word around, professionalism, so we're clear that we don't mean, least I don't mean, all these things that the word usually stands for, and I hope my colleagues don't mean those words either.
Dr. Morris Springer I think professionalism, if you get very semantic about it, could be construed by many people as a profession, well how we should behave in the profession as against a nonprofessional blue collar worker.
Dr. Morris Springer Yes.
Dr. Gordon Murray And that the matter of financial gain, personal gain does not enter into the picture. And therefore I can see no reason for any educator if he's not in it for personal gain, financial gain to be interested in joining unions and having strikes against lesser pay, things of this sort, improved working conditions, which are all things that the labor management sort of thing--
Dr. Gordon Murray [I feel that?] the present a situation with regard to salary and working conditions while it could be improved is not so drastically detrimental to [our?] working that we need to resort to things like strikes which you can do some more harm to students, population, public at large, taxpayers all. Incidentally since the taxpayers are the ones who are paying us for our occupation I don't see how we could properly strike against the taxpayers.
Dr. Peter Senn Oh I would disagree with that. You see that's the model of education as a business and the bus--The man who pays in business therefore calls the tune. That's where, I would say that contradicted your earlier view of a profession because to regard education as a business--
Dr. Morris Springer Mmmhmm.
Dr. Morris Springer Yes.
Dr. Gordon Murray I wonder I wonder if there is any real difference in the concept of a strike from say a mutiny or a rebellion. I know if a child rebelled against his parents saying he was going on a strike because his parents wouldn't give him what he wanted, well he would undoubtedly be turned over the knee and spanked, which is what it seems to me what should be done with people who want to strike.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring A small group of college teachers who decided to call a strike in our school. One man said, Well I voted to threaten to strike but I didn't mean really to strike. And this is the kind of thing that worries me.
Dr. Morris Springer Well you know I think that what has been left out here and should be--I think that what's been left out here and what should be brought out, and I think that Peter Senn knows this possibly better than any of us, are the intermediate steps right here in Chicago that were taken before this threat to us was that was made. I mean we seemed to be creating the impression here that there was a leap from first requests denied to a strike threat if we didn't what we wanted.
Dr. Peter Senn Oh there's a, we have been begging, pleading, cajoling. You mentioned joining professional organizations. I happen to be the founder of the Wright chapter of the American Association of University Professors, have been a member for over 20 years. We have been able to make no dent whatsoever. And this is understandable on the part of the board. They have 20000 teachers; we're 500. They have completely neglected us and as I say I can appeal to the legislature and everybody who's studied it knows they neglected us. When they neglect it, and when you see your students hurt by this neglect I would argue quite in opposition to that a professional educator must stand up for the rights of his students.
Dr. Gordon Murray These professional organizations need to strengthen their ranks that is increase their membership. This is one of the big problems as to why they're not getting very far with their reasoning and mediation because they have an insufficient membership. And I would think that educators would do better to join these professional organizations, swell their membership, and avoid this [sideline?] business and unionism and striking which seems to be more relegated to some profession outside or I should say, some occupation outside--
Studs Terkel By the way, Mr. Murray, did you feel that the earlier you spoke of of strike as being somewhat mutinous in nature. You wouldn't fell this about a nonprofessional, let us say someone working at the steel plant or, course we've had--
Dr. Gordon Murray I think it's a matter of individual situation. I can assume a situation maybe where a strike would not do tremendous injury to the public or many people involved. It might be simply a matter between individuals or small groups of individuals or an employer which would not affect large populations [at all?]. Something like this might possibly be done.
Studs Terkel Now we come to the question of what is, why did you become teachers you know because I'm sure there are other occupations you could find that probably pay more you know. And how then is the student, would you say, I'll leave this open, is affected by what happens by the teacher and is seeking his due?
Dr. Morris Springer I wonder how closely you're in touch with the fact that if the students' present mood and all the sit-ins and demonstrations that had the strike gone through we would probably have had a great many of them on our side and not only because some of them would have been delighted to miss their exams.
Studs Terkel The question I was [unintelligible] is perhaps even beyond that. I'm just wondering, the student--The teacher and a student; teacher now is involved in something that concerns his livelihood. There are two different approaches that are projected here. How is, Peter or Dr. Mainwaring, anyone, how do you think--Is the teacher a, is he, does he have more rapport with the students? Less? Is he affected one way adversely or perhaps the other way?
Dr. Peter Senn Let me talk about this in terms of the quality of American life and just what a student-teacher relationship involves. Presumably this is a democracy. In a democracy presumably people have a right to steady improvement, to stand up for what they want. They should not, and this is what I think the strike threat, and if necessary a strike, brings out, the student is sees that his teacher is an independent thinking person willing to work for others because the students know we're not striking for ourselves, obviously, or primarily, and oppose that to the past image of American teachers and momism. You know there's a lot that American boys are raised by women in a paternalistic school authoritarian pattern of education and this does something. When people are raised and educated by teachers that will not stand up for themselves, that will not think on their feet, will not act in their own interest, I would argue that cuts at the whole idea of democracy. And to me a teacher is an independent thinking acting person and should have much more to say about running the schools than they have to say today.
Dr. Gordon Murray A teacher certainly ought to be an individual who has sense of responsibility to his students, to the public, to his employer, these are the concepts of loyalty. All of these things too. [Unintelligible] student's image--
Dr. Mary Mainwaring I don't believe our students are suffering for these reasons and not one of mine would ever be persuaded that I am abused and holding still for it. They can see me wear to school on winter mornings the mink coat I bought with my poor wages from the Board of Education and they know how independent we are, in fact they'd all like to be the same. The fellows who work for me want to be audiovisual directors--
Dr. Mary Mainwaring And they certainly would. And in our neighborhood its very good for the students to have contact with educated people and see what they do with their time and their money and their lives.
Dr. Morris Springer Well the two gentlemen on either side of me can contradict me if I'm overstating something but here we have Gordon on one side who has made a big case for the professionalism of the teacher and for his dedication to his job in a secondary concern with his own material benefit, and here Peter has talked about the first duty of being to the student in the sense that he owes the truth to the student and not so much to the employer. I have a middle ground. I feel that first of all I certainly would like to have in this affluent society of ours a modicum of it without having to be too far behind the general benefits that other people in my profession are getting in comparable schools. But then again it seems that we have paid a great deal of attention here to certain aspects of what a teacher is but not enough to the nature of our profession as it relates to our role in the classroom. The mere fact that we are teachers, that we, our job is to relate to students, that we are essentially conveying certain ideas and ideals of education by the nature of our job, that we automatically pose a certain image a to student because we are older, we've got the degrees, we've got the experience, and we stand in relation to a kind of superior who has to give him a grade or who who can can help him achieve his ambitions. I think that this, since we are in a society now where the students--Where the teachers, especially college teachers, have almost replaced the parents in many cases through as authority figures or emulation figures that as Peter says if we past a certain point to allow ourselves to go along as dignified dignified and very very patient nonentities that we do do the students an injustice by that. I really think so.
Dr. Peter Senn Why--
Studs Terkel Course this leads, obviously we have two--I think what's fascinating about this round table, I'm sure the listeners would agree with me, two different philosophies really, their basic difference is in approach, all four are teachers and I'm sure all four are excellent teachers. And yet two different philosophies involved here as to what a teacher really is outside his classroom and how it affects his classroom and his students. Is he, is he a better teacher for the student to whom indeed does he owe prime loyalties? And what is a teacher? So perhaps another question. And this is hanging beautifully I think, and the audience itself can come to its own conclusions, or thoughts, [unintelligible] thinking. Isn't there another aspect involved? Recently there was the social workers dispute too, in which the social workers felt they should also have a role, aside fighting for improvement of their livelihood, a role in the administration and more of a role closer to their clients, the people involved. Does this apply to this particular dispute too? The teacher and curriculum? The teacher and his say in the curriculum of classes? Is this part of it too?
Dr. Mary Mainwaring You can't have it both ways. You don't want extra work, but now you say you want a role in administration. That's exactly what I've been doing today is administrative work and I'm not asking for sympathy. If you want to take on extra duties, do it. But don't at the same time try to cut down your teaching. That's the crux. That's the front line.
Dr. Peter Senn Why can't we do both? You see my approach here is that the teachers other major human resource both numerically and strategically in the educational process, and they must have something to say in order to be effective about their teaching. If more administration is required then they'll have to teach less as they do what all the major universities. The entire university tradition is self-administration from the free universities in Europe up to the great universities in America today. And I assume that teachers can make a very great contribution here. Now on administration I should say one word. The most common superintendent of education in the United States is the male gym teacher who has a Ph.D. in gym education. The administration is typically not trained to be administration. In our own city system if you were to look at the administration you would find practically none of them have professional training in administration so they move into the system administrative hierarchy in some obscure way after they leave teaching for a few years they get way out of touch with what a classroom is. So my point, to recapitulate, teachers are the human resource numerically and strategically in education. They must therefore have a role in administering and determining policies. That would be my view.
Dr. Morris Springer I don't think by the way from what I've seen that there is too much danger in having people I mean teachers, dedicated teachers, who would dabble in the administration to the extent of having a say let's say in the curriculum and other policies. I don't think there's much danger that we are going to lose or that they will either do too much administrative work or that they're all going to shift into it because how many how many of us have see case after case of classroom teachers who have been persuaded let's say for two or three years to take on a deanship and after three years or so the college paper has a headline, "dean so-and-so has decided that he wants to go back to the classroom." This more often happens than not. Paperwork and PTAs and so on may be good on a fulltime basis with those who really [like this?] from the beginning. But I think that the bigger percentage of us who like the classroom want to have a few fingers in the pie, not the whole fist.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Well Peter doesn't want the gym teacher as administrators. And the reason gym teachers become administrators is that they're very amiable friendly people who are used to getting people to do things as they want. They're experts in human relations and scholars are not necessarily. Well--
Dr. Morris Springer Oooh.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring I'm not-- [laughter]. Well people think that gym teachers are good public relations people and it works out the same way. I'm not advocating this but it's why it happens and the administration is tough and a lot of teachers would rather be in a classroom; that's exciting work.
Dr. Morris Springer Wait a minute now. If I might permit me to be a bit cynical. If there--it is true that there are some of the gym teachers that the administration don't you think that some of them might do it because when they get to be a little bit less limber they look around for greener fields [laughter]--
Dr. Morris Springer And I can't blame them, I can't blame them. It also happens to be that in many cases in high schools, let's say a 60 year old English teachers whom the principal wants to put out to pasture suddenly become grade counselors. Some who are about as fit as I am to orbit the moon [laughter].
Dr. Gordon Murray Well it's always been thus hasn't it, that people are always fighting people who are in authority, administrators so on. But there must be someone who is the leader. It's very much like the captain on the ship. I mean we can't just fight the captain constantly, finally throw him overboard, mutiny, so on, rebel. The captain and his mate so on are duly constituted authority to run this ship. And even in schools we must have these administrators who do this job for us. And if we don't like them I don't think we can resort to things like strikes and rebellion to try to overthrow them, do it by forceful means.
Dr. Peter Senn Well I would go for, again I have to disagree completely. You're assuming these analogies of yours, whether a school is like a business or a ship, I just would have to reject because to me in the college tradition in the whole history of intellectual truth and freedom has simply been that the teacher is the last word for the student and in the classroom. And if you say that somebody else can tell you what to do I think you're rejecting the whole history of Western intellectual freedom.
Dr. Peter Senn Oh--
Studs Terkel I found this a very fascinating one. I think that obviously there are two different points of view here. Before we have one last go round, and incidentally Dr. Mainwaring, the hour has gone very quickly. Well I suppose--
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Yes.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Yes they they would like to copy the recordings and they are copyrighted and of course there's the problem that the records have been played and they've got a little noise in them and the tape recorders are small and not very good and the results would be bad and then they'd come back and they'd beef at me you know, they wasted their tape and their time and it's rotten and it's just simpler to tell them the truth. They are copyrighted and fair use would not allow them all to copy all the records. There's this principle of fair use in the copying of copyrighted material.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Well--
Studs Terkel Yeah.
Dr. Mary Mainwaring It is a bad habit in some audio visual centers to buy one copy and make ten. And if you keep that up pretty soon the original material won't be available for sale; there would be no profit in it.
Dr. Gordon Murray Well, what I was going to say is it looks as if problems are pretty well resolved now. The mayor has appointed a new board. And my goodness we're in a Class One college now, the state building authority I understand he has the right to give 20 million dollars for lands, buildings; seventy-five percent of state funds going to all this purpose, and the--
Dr. Morris Springer Gordon--
Dr. Morris Springer Do you think, do you think that, don't you think that the mere fact that the mayor met with the bargaining committee of the College Teachers' Union and that a board was appointed by today so soon afterwards,--
Dr. Gordon Murray None whatsoever. This was all in the planning. It was the way it was going to happen whether the union had said one word or not. It had all been prearranged. It was necessary that this be done in order that we get the funds that are coming to us. The whole thing had to be done and settled by July 1st. And I don't that think any union action has brought this about any quicker than it would have occurred under normal situation--
Dr. Mary Mainwaring Well I hope that the strike threat did not keep any good people off the board on which we will depend from now on for everything that we need and have wanted for a long time. I am still not persuaded that we could have benefited our students by striking. I am not a member of the union, and after all this I don't plan to become one. I might have been persuaded if it hadn't been for this strike threat at this time, which I think it's probably turned me away forever. Also I am not persuaded by arguments that the A.M.A. is terribly reactionary and backward and a great many other wild generalities about what other people are doing don't affect this situation in my mind. Our students need us there. We are not underpaid. We are not greatly abused. Look around you. I have a friend who hasn't had a raise in 10 years and he has to rent his own office space in a private school. I think we are not greatly to be pitied. We must work for betterment continually but I think we should do it in the Association of University Professors.
Dr. Morris Springer I think that when something happens after the fact, you know everybody has very good hindsight. But I have an idea that the two philosophies here are essentially one of two of us willing to kind of wait and hold our breaths and let things evolve I think with the slowness of evolution, and the other two of us feel that the time has come to push things a little. I don't want to-- I wonder whether this is a curveball to conclude with. But I think that all members and the junior colleges who are not member of the CCC T U will sooner or later find themselves like characters in "The Little Red Hen." They didn't want to sow the seed or do any raking or plowing but they'll be around when the bread is baked and handed out.
Dr. Gordon Murray Well fine, as Dr. Springer said, this gradual evolutions, natural selection, is bound to come. Evolution will evolve, it will go on despite unions or strikes or whatever may come to pass. [I'm a?] biologist [laughter]. I would also say that as long as I remain a member of the educational profession, and I've been one for 20 years now, I would never have any intention of going on a strike against my employers, the public, or anyone, taxpayers, anyone to whom I might do injury by such an action.
Dr. Peter Senn Alright. I'd like to just say that no teacher wants to strike. But if we adopt the view that we are professionals, that we have deep obligations to our students and to the truth then we are forced to work for improvement of conditions. Working for the improvement of conditions can be done in many ways and I certainly agree with that. But there comes a time when it seems we're at a dead end. The civil rights movement founded years ago and they had to resort to sit ins and other things. We in Chicago have found that we reached a dead end a week or so ago and had to resort, not to a strike and it shouldn't be put that way, to the threat of a strike in order to get improved conditions and not for ourselves but for our students.
Dr. Morris Springer Colleges.
Studs Terkel All are members of the junior colleges. Very articulate teachers expressing obviously two different philosophies involving the role of a teacher, the student, his responsibilities. Dr. Mary Mainwaring of Wilson Junior College, Gordon Murray of Amundson-Mayfair Branch, Dr. Morris Springer of the Amundson-Mayfair Branch, and Peter Senn of Wright Junior. Thank you very much lady and gentlemen.