I enjoyed the perspectives presented in the text. The 60’s and 70’s were an eye-opening and pivotal time, figuratively and mentally, for students’ equal access to education and initiatives to shape it.
After the open-admissions were enacted at City University of New York (CUNY), this shift in university’s policy enacted a program led by Mina Shaughnessy at CUNY’s City College. Her vision enveloped all students, and in a turbulent time in testy waters, she found resistance in her socially and historically relevant aims. Teaching basic writing is an integral part of students’ successes in their abilities, while leveling and supporting the collective’s literacy/writing development. That is an issue in the writing that doesn’t go away, regardless if those who condemn these programs as “remedial” (26). In fact, there were other workings on a similar vision to develop new programs. These pedagogical innovations popped up, and other professors, Robert Lyons, Donald Quade, Marie Ponsot, from Queens, emphasized imagination with open admission students; Brooklyn College developed an innovative program called the New School of Liberal Arts (NSLA), that was a program for the “under prepared student “and included additional counseling and workshops in academic reading and writing for open admissions students (12). As Shaughnessy notes, we are experiencing the crisis directly on the individual campuses; “We struggle each day to extract from the Orwellian Language …what is finally going to become of the students whom the university in more affluent times committed itself to educate”(14). Mike Rose has also had a say in this matter and calls for socialization into the academic discourse community, heaving the most significant impact. Ultimately, I found Shaughnessy focusing the attention on teachers, administration, and society in general. It was the errors and findings of social inequalities and not personal failings. The crucial distinction of basic writing, the difference and disadvantage it had in mirroring the development of first-year composition, is that, though first-year comp never had something like first year comp to use as a guide the way others did …[it’s the] matter of definition both for the field of basic writing and for the students it serves (42).
Basic Writing as a back formation is appropriately titled when injecting a Wallace Douglas quote;
“the purposes of composition, as it came to be conceived
in the latter days of rhetoric” narrowed down to “the acquisition
of certain linguistic forms of relatively narrow currency, which today
would be said to represent good or appropriate English, but which in
more candid times could be described, simply and without apology, as
signs of social rank” (45).
The identifiable discourse people use and/or have access to is explains history’s implications, but whether our teachers and administration can agree on a focal point to the problem is still up in the air.