Back Story with Joan Goldstein: The Truth About Community College Students

January 4, 2010 at 8:43 pm Leave a comment

posted by Joan Goldstein ’67, sociologist and educator

When Princeton TV30 Public Access invited me to host and produce my own show, I was excited about the idea of creating a public forum on social issues that would reflect both national and local concerns. I decided to call the show “Back Story with Joan Goldstein,” and my very first show focused on the healthcare debate. It was the fall of 2009 and I had recently attended a Town Hall meeting in Middletown, New Jersey held by Congressman Rush Holt; the conflicts I had observed were intense. On the show in October, my invited guest was Barry Rabner, President and CEO of the Princeton Healthcare System, and he was an excellent and knowledgeable guest. The station provided me with a round wooden table on the set, in the style of “Charlie Rose,” according to George, the station manager. I was off and running. This very first show was voted “Show of the Week.”

For my second show, I decided to focus on education – more specifically, community college education – and invited current students in my Social Problems course to join in. I have been teaching Sociology at Mercer County Community College in West Windsor, New Jersey for the past 16 years. As a 1967 graduate of Bank Street College, I have learned to apply the concepts of progressive education to this level of learning, and it has proved quite exciting. My guests were self-selected members of my two sections. Out of 63 students, four wonderful and diverse students were able to commit the time to tape the show and then join me as my guests for pizza at Princeton’s famous Conti’s afterwards. George has provided this website for viewing that show:

Working with students in a Chinese school

I had decided to look at the stereotypes applied to community colleges and their students based on the recent TV series titled “Community.” Not only is the show offensive in their depiction of students and faculty, but they tend to give the wrong ideas about who does attend college and their dedication to attaining a degree. As you can view on the tape, my students hold down jobs, are highly intelligent and hard working, and have ambitions to contribute to our society as teachers and nurses. These shows were able to be viewed three times per week for over one month on TV 30, and in an arrangement with MCTV26, on the college’s station three more times per week. Some of the staff on campus who had seen the show stopped me one day to share that they had seen students around campus for years, but realized that they didn’t know anything about their lives. In 2010, I intend to have more programs on education and invite more students as guests. Everyone deserves to have their voice be heard.

Joan Goldstein, Ph.D., is a professor at Mercer County Community College in New Jersey. She hosts Back Story, a monthly forum that explores current issues of the day, both national and local, with guests invited for their expertise or particular viewpoints. Her next episode was “The Future of Newspapers” with editors and publishers of local papers as guests. The show is broadcast on public access television in Princeton, NJ and also online. All of the episodes can be viewed here:

Entry filed under: community, dialogue, diversity, equity.

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Some of Our Past Bloggers

Alisa Algava ‘08, leader of a small Hudson Valley progressive school
Gloria Arenson ’58, psychotherapist
Bill Ayers ‘84, UIC professor, Chicago
Fred Baumgarten ‘84, writer/musician/naturalist/father
Keith Berman '03, founder/president of Options for College and Bank Street’s LinkedIn moderator
David Bowles ’08 (SFC ’93), museum educator at the Rubin Museum of Art
Elena Canaras ‘07, Special Education teacher, Hawaii
Virginia Casper, Bank Street faculty member
Jim Clay ‘88, director of a Washington DC Quaker preschool
Mary DeCamp Cotterall ‘87, Reading Specialist, Michigan
Judy Coven ’77, retired public school teacher and former Antioch University faculty member
Leslie Day '93, adjunct instructor at Bank Street and author of Field Guide to the Natural World of New York City
Mary Louise (Molly) Day ‘76, Lab School teacher, Chicago
Liezel de La Isla ‘99, Prague International School teacher
Diane Trister Dodge '70, founder and president of Teaching Strategies, Inc.
Meghan Dunn ’08, 3rd grade teacher, Brooklyn
Steven Evangelista ’01, co-director Harlem Link Charter School, NYC
Janine Fetters ‘02, Senior Associate of Parent Engagement at NACCRRA
Dena Florczyk '88, middle school teacher and founder/director of The Nigerian School Project
Hollee Freeman '94, writes about parenting issues for the alumni blog and was featured on BSCAA's April 2012 Career Panel
Ellen Galinsky '70, is President and Co-Founder of Families and Work Institute and author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Joanne Ruvolo Gannett ‘84, Columbia College art history professor, Chicago
Joan Goldstein ‘67, sociologist and educator
Margot Hammond, Director of the Center for Early Childhood Professionals
Carol Hillman ‘67, early childhood educator, author, and Long Trip co-leader
Pam Jones ‘05, Bank Street advisor and instructor
Lee Klinger Lesser ‘87, trainer for the Parent Services Project
Preminda Langer ‘97, teacher trainer
Claire Milam ’97, life coach, Austin, Texas
Rabin Nickens ‘03, Speaker, Trainer and Educational Consultant
Beth Norford ‘89, consultant and former School for Children teacher
Susy Ogden ‘97
Marion Palm ‘95, Leadership in the Arts alum, writing tutor, poet and singer
Jessica Poser, assistant professor of art education at UIC, Chicago
Jesse Pugh '76, BSCAA President
Meg Rauen ‘06, former Chicago elementary school teacher, NY
Linda Reing, Bank Street Director of Alumni Relations
Rosalind Rothman '62, retired NYC teacher and guidance counselor
Kyla Ryman '92/'97, educational coach and consultant
Ariel Sacks ‘06, middle school teacher, Brooklyn, NY
Linda Appleman (Guidall) Shapiro ‘81, psychotherapist and author
Barbara Silver ‘80, literacy consultant and former NYC first grade teacher
Andrea Penny Spencer, former Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at Bank Street
Debbie Stone ‘84, former teacher/co-director of High Valley School
Rachel Theilheimer ‘74, chair of teacher education at BMCC/CUNY
Theodore Timpson ’05, founder/president of Young Spirit Foundation
Eleanor Traubman '95, is Editor in Chief of Creative Times, a blog which promotes NYC's performing, visual and literary arts
Allison Warren '08, new mom, recent grad, and early childhood teacher
Max Weinberg ‘03, Francis Parker School teacher, Chicago
Ted Wells ‘07, 4th grade teacher at The Park School, Brookline, MA
Tracy Wiessbrod ’03, kindergarten teacher and stay-at-home mom

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