EDU Holds Inaugural Event, Features Spoken-Word Artist
By Sarah Ashman ’14, News Section Editor
Last Thursday, the College’s newest student group, the EDU, held its inaugural event. Aspiring teachers and those interested in education and education reform gathered in the Morris Pratt ballroom to hear a spoken word performance by poet Carlos Andrès Gòmez and to take part in a discussion about education facilitated by Professor Hilary Moss.

Before EDU founders Daniela Fragoso ’13 and Dan Alter ’12 made any mention of the EDU itself, they gave the stage to Gòmez, who began a performance of education-themed poetry with a poem about racism and tolerance. For the next half hour the teacher-turned-artist captivated his audience with his raw, emotion-laden performance.

Gòmez closed his set with a poem called “What’s Genocide,” which offered a telling look into a failing New York City school. Gòmez spoke of how he was chastised for letting his students hear poetry that contained profanity and how, in an attempt to prove a point, he asked an assembled group of students to raise their hands if they had ever heard of the Holocaust. All did. He then asked those who had heard of the Rwandan Genocide to raise their hand. Eventually, one student raised her hand, and Gòmez, excited, asked her what the Rwandan Genocide was.

“Carlos,” she said, “what’s genocide?”

It was then, Gòmez said, that he realized how much of a disservice the educational system could be to children, especially minority children — and, enraged, he wrote “What’s Genocide” as a way to express what he would have liked to have told his students.

“Carlos being here tonight was a dream come true,” said Alter, “but unfortunately we won’t be able to bring him every week.”

Gòmez’ poem, with its thought-provoking themes on public education, formed a fitting backdrop for the EDU’s inaugural meeting. Following Gòmez’ performance, Professor Moss facilitated a full-group discussion about the public education -- both its purpose and issues surrounding it.

Alumnus Buster Nelson ’01, who was on campus to receive the Class of ’54 Commitment to Teaching Fellowship, challenged other attendees with his own view on education.

“Education is about control,” he said. “Education was designed, in part, to be able to control what people are thinking or what they are feeling about where they’re living.”

A vigorous discussion followed, as the organizers had hoped for the event.

Fragoso and Alter stressed that they did not have a pre-set agenda for the event, but rather hoped for everyone to participate and jointly form the goals for the group.

“Since there is no education department at the College, [Dan and I] thought that there needed to be an opportunity for students to meet other students who are passionate about education and to talk about educational issues,” said Fragoso.

Issue 23, Submitted 2011-04-20 03:22:26