To the editors:

I concur with Richard H. Lerner on City Colleges [January 24]! Input by experienced teaching staff is badly needed to balance current projections. On the issue of possible racism I refer you to Vernon Jarrett in the Sun-Times in ongoing columns about CCC. In addition, the business model CCC is strapped with badly needed modification in an academic, not-for-profit enterprise! Business leaders need to be tested for competence, too, given the cataclysmic failure of the business mentality countrywide today. People are using the word depression these days, not just recession, even the media. Other elements of the community need to be contacted; and in the current economic slide, we really do not appreciate preachments and myths from the business community.

Education is for the whole development and cultural growth of students, not only for job readiness, low-paying jobs at that. Basic skills in reading, writing and math will outlast obsolescent vocational training, as important as actual training can often be. The basic mission of CCC remains educational and at college level. Even remedial courses carried on within college circumstances are a cut above high school, given the greater maturity of adult students in ALSP programs. Such basic liberal education will serve people better in the long run than narrow vocational attitudes.

In addition to a review of administrators, as suggested by Lerner, board members need to be looked at for a broader and community-based perspective. To cope adequately with the current crisis the Mayor needs a broader-based board, made up not just of business types but of educated and concerned people. Ultimately, CCC should never be used just as a means to funnel cheap labor into low-level jobs. That’s against the City College constitution and purpose. Lerner should provide further details of his perspective. It is a healthy one and viable.

Rod Farrell

N. Maplewood