November 24, 2007
Webster University to Host Panel on City Public Schools Dec. 1
A Webster University undergraduate behavioral sciences class, led by Assistant Professor Danielle MacCartney, will host a panel discussion on St. Louis City public education, Saturday, Dec. 1, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Webster University Library Conference Room, 101 Edgar Road, Webster Groves. The event is free and open to the public and media are encouraged to attend. Scheduled panelists include: Joy Southerland Wade, counselor, Roosevelt High School; Richard Singer, teacher Normandy School District; Pastor Alvin A. Smith, pastor and community activist; Tracey McCarthy, assoc. professor of behavioral sciences, Webster University; Tiffany Smith, professor at St. Louis Community College; Dinah Tatman, community activist; and Renee Bowans, coordinator, Life Skills Foundation. Francis Slay, St. Louis City mayor and Peter Downs, former School Board Member may also participate.
According to Professor MacCartney, her course focuses on social stratification and inequality with the panel event serving as the students' practical service learning component. The students picked inequality in the educational structure in St Louis due to the recent and public discussion about the public schools' loss of accreditation.
“Students chose the topic of education and they chose to do a panel to discuss the educational system,” says MacCartney. “Since the idea for this component of the class was to gain practical experience in a real-life inequality situation, the students wanted to look at the school system, but they realized they were mostly outsiders — all but a few students did not attend public schools in St. Louis. So, they decided the best way to learn about what was happening in the St. Louis public schools was to talk to people who actually work in the public schools or people who have experience trying to make changes to better the educational opportunities for children in St Louis.”
A companion project to the panel event is a class-produced video documentary on the subject featuring interviews with teachers and community activists about City public schools. The class is a core requirement for anthropology or sociology majors and is comprised of juniors and seniors.
“The students and I hope to gain a better understanding of the physical and social environments for children, teachers, and administrators in the public school system. We also hope to raise awareness about social inequality — focusing on this one educational issue. Ultimately, this project is a way for students to link the critical thinking skills we've been developing in the classroom to an issue that has meaning in a particular social context — that is, to emphasize the link between classroom learning and the social world.”
To arrange an interview with the Professor MacCartney or any of the students in her class, contact Christine Wells Eason, director of media relations, Webster University Office of Public Affairs, at 314-968-5976, 314-565-5745 or firstname.lastname@example.org.