Friday, March 18, 2011

Shock Jocks Attack My Students: Who Serves Society Better?

So let's see. I have hundreds of students in my classes every year whose goal is to better themselves, and to work for the betterment of society. They are young students just out of high school who are seeking direction, they are single mothers trying to get off welfare and start working, they are newly jobless working to learn skills for a new career, they are retired people who want to learn something new. They have goals for their lives, and we are a pathway for them to achieve their goals. When I say they want to work for the betterment of society, I mean it. Among my many students are idealistic people who want to become police, nurses, firefighters, and teachers.

So, I get word that some shock jock radio guys named Ken and John at KFI Radio in Los Angeles think that community colleges are a scam, and that the students who attend are parasites.

Let's see what I remember from my core biology class at Chaffey Community College: A parasite is a creature that attaches itself to some kind of host, and draws its nourishment from the blood or organs of the host without giving anything in return. Parasites weaken and cause damage to the host organism. Tapeworms are an example of a parasite.

On the other hand, there are symbionts. In symbiosis, organisms also draw nourishment from their host, but they give something back. There is a mutual benefit in the relationship. Bees draw their nourishment from flowers, but in traveling from one flower to another, they pollinate and allow the plants to reproduce and flourish.

Which of these describe the students with whom I work every day? And what term describes ignorant radio hosts?

It seems that conservatives have long pushed the idea that people have to take personal responsibility for improving their lives. I've heard them say that people don't have the right of "equality" of resources (i.e. socialism), but that they should have equality of opportunity. I don't disagree with this. It is, in fact, why I teach. I want to give all my students the opportunity to succeed, and I work very hard to encourage them. And they work very hard to achieve their goals. Some fail. It happens. But many of them succeed against very long odds. I gain so much from my relationship with my students, and society benefits as they become qualified for better jobs and careers, especially in the fields where they help improve the lives of others. If you want to look at it from a purely economic point of view, educated people have better jobs, have more money to spend on products and services, and pay more in taxes.

Given that such radio personalities want to "shock" their audience and thus raise their ratings, well, it worked. I'm shocked, and I am paying attention to their advertisers. I don't think that these advertisers want to know what I think about them when they support people like Ken and John. I want all my readers to pay attention to these advertisers. And let them know about the kind of people they support with their advertising dollars. They will, by the way, never see a penny from me...

Here are the advertisers, from the website at KFI Radio (links on their website):

American Vision Windows

Auto Insurance Specialists

AT&T Wireless

Ayres Hotels


Covenant Debt Solutions

Cunning Dental Group

Intercap Lending

Jarvis & Krieger Attorneys at Law

Saddleback Eye Center

Susan's Healthy Gourmet

Warehouse Discount Center

By the way, the website of these same men has pictures of the Republican state senators and assembly people who are still negotiating on the budget with stakes through their heads and bird droppings on their head. Does such violent imagery have a place in our societal discourse? I hope you will consider contacting these legislators and tell them you support the community college system.

I am proud of my students. I am proud to be a teacher. I am proud to be part of the single largest system of higher education in the world with 2.7 million students, a system that trains 80% of our police and firefighters and 70% of our nurses. And I am appalled when people like Ken and John are given such a loud platform to spread their ignorance and hate. I would ignore them, but apparently they have one of the larger audiences in the south state.

People like Ken and John are the true parasites.
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