CSU, Chico News

‘Great Debate’ Tackles Education Reform

Date: 10-13-2011

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

The next Great Debate involving California State University, Chico students and community leaders will cover a range of controversial education issues including teacher tenure, merit pay, standardized testing, the No Child Left Behind Act and charter schools.

The day-long event Friday, Nov. 4, includes speeches, presentations and debates starting at 8:30 a.m. in the city of Chico council chambers. The public is invited to attend.

The event culminates with a main debate at 6:30 p.m. involving local government officials, business owners and community members debating this question: Would policies to increase teacher accountability through merit pay and/or ending tenure improve K-12 education in the State of California?

Part of the Great Debate event Nov. 4 will be an interactive exhibit, the Civic Expo, open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers. Students from Professor Stephanie Hamel's small group communication classes have planned a multi-faceted exhibit that provides information about and perspectives on the key issues for the debate.

The Great Debate is a cooperative event between CSU, Chico and the city of Chico. CSU, Chico students in speech and communication classes have been studying education reform throughout the fall semester in preparation for the event.

The Great Debate in spring 2011 focused on immigration reform in California and was well attended by community members. Zach Justus, coordinator of the public speaking course in the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, said the topic of California’s schools promises to make the Great Debate an ideal learning and interactive event for the community.

CSU, Chico’s First-Year Experience Program, in collaboration with the Department of Communication Arts and Sciences, coordinates the Chico Great Debate event. The First-Year Experience Program also works with other campus departments to produce large public events such as the Town Hall Meeting, the Rough-Cut Film Festival and the Economic Challenges Series. The First-Year Experience Program is designed to assist first-year students succeed in their transition to university life and become active community participants.

Prior Great Debate topics were the pro and con aspects of legalizing marijuana and whether California should repeal the Global Warming Solutions Act.

For more information on the Great Debate, go to http://www.csuchico.edu/fye/greatdebate/index.shtml or e-mail greatdebate@csuchico.edu . To get information from the event’s Facebook page, go to http://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Chico-Great-Debate/131460970286677.