Operation SEEK at Queens College

Operation SEEK at
Queens College
What can we learn about effective
transitions programs from its 50 year
Professional activities
Retired ESL teacher
Part time Assistant Professor Language
and Literacy Education, UGA
ESL teacher in college prep program at
community college
Volunteer teacher – Athens Technical College
Contact: Jackie Saindon
[email protected] [email protected]
Related activities
O Tutor at Operation SEEK
O Family Literacy program at school district
O Taught anthropology and sociology at the
Doraville GM plant
O Volunteer tutor in Everyday Readers
O Former board member and president of
Clarke County School District
What I will talk about
O Introduction
O Context for the establishment of SEEK
O Establishment of the SEEK program at the
SEEK program at Queens College
History of the SEEK program at Queens
Open admission at the CUNY colleges
What can learn that will help us establish
successful transition programs?
Questions for you
O Working in small groups
O Describe the program you are in
O What are some of the program
elements that work for you
O What kinds of programs would you
add to make it a more effective
Search for Education.
Elevation and Knowledge
The Context of the
establishment of Operation
Tracking in Queens high
O The population of Queens grew greatly
in the early 60s, but the settlement
wasn’t evenly distributed.
O Junior high schools reflected the
neighborhood and their ethnic, racial,
and economic communities
O Often students were tracked by the
neighborhood they came from
Jamaica High School
O The zone for the high school included
neighborhoods that were homogenous and
segregated by practice and custom
O The feeder school created a vehicle for
O Incoming students were tracked by their
Junior High school scores and by the
neighborhood they came from
Tracking at Jamaica High School
O Grades were attached to tracks
O Only students in the extra honors
programs could get grades in the mid
O Honors got 90-95
O Academic got in the 80
O General got in the 70s
O Jelani Cobb’s article in the New
Establishment of the SEEK
O War on poverty
O Population growth in Queens
O Baby boom generation comes of age
O City colleges had to be expanded
O In order to get the agreement of
minority leaders and politicians the
agreed to legislature that mandated
the SEEK program
The initiation of the CUNY
city wide program
O Rockefeller wanted construction funds to
construct new buildings for the growing
O Minority population wouldn’t vote for it
because it didn’t include minority
O Travis Bill – provided for the establishment
of the SEEK program at all of the senior
colleges in the CUNY system
Video about the SEEK program
Historical stages
O 1966=1968
O 1969-1975
O 1975-1978
O 1978 on
Establishment of the program
O 1966-1968
The early days
O SEEK at Queens was run independently
Selection process
Instruction – small classes,
English, Math, Reading, Speech, and foreign
Instruction was on content with students
reading college level work
Read less but read it more deeply
SEEK offered
O Counslling
O Carefare
O Day Care allowance
O Cultural programs
O Mentor program
O One on one tutoring
The revolt of minority
O 1968-1969
Minority students rebelled
O In 1958 African American and Puerto Rican
O Main critique – the Culture of Poverty
perspective that had been the view of Leslie
O Criticized the approach of the administration
that there was some fault in them that
caused their problems.
O Viewed the administration, faculty and
counselors as patronizing liberals.
Reorganization following
O Administration changed
O Hired African American faculty
O Switched to a minority perspective
O Read more third world writers
Changing demographics
O The new white and ethnic student body of
the SEEK progam objected to the focus on
third world scholars
O Change was again in the air
Financial Crises
The first economic crises hit in 1975.
Charged tuition for the first time in 127 years
Day Care center was closed
Students without children could not quaify for
public assistance
Seek employment and job development was ended
Financial aid was drastically cut
Students who received Aid to Dependent Children
were told they could not attend a senior college
O Many felt that the CUNY system
was using the economic crises as
a way of getting rid of the
O Despite the cutbacks, the SEEK
continued to grow
O Developmental programs included
remediation and compensatory
O Ratio of students to counselors would
be 100 students to 1 counselor in the
lower division
O And1 to 150 in the upper division
What was the effect ot the SEEK
O Unfortunately Queens College doesn’t keep
records of SEEK students once they enter
the regular college program
O Hope to learn more as I explore find more
data sets
O Currently, the the graduates of the SEEK
program graduate in the top 10% of their
O Medicine, law, teachers, and academics
The Open Admission program
in the CUNY system
Data set about the Open Admissions program
Passing the Torch: Does Higher Education for
the Disadvantaged pay off across the
Paul Attewell and David Lavin
O In 1970 the colleges in the CUNY system
opened their doors to everyone who
graduated from high school
O Guaranteed admission to either a senior or
a junior college
O This study looks at what happened to them
30 years later
Data set 2000 women who had been
interviewed in 1970
What was the economic value of a
college education?
What effect did it have on their
Results 1
Given a ten year time span they found that
75% earned a bachelors degree
26% earned a master’s or higher degree
Nine parenting practices
Cultural enrichment
Social capital
Extensive discussions with children
Parent involvement in school
Expectations that a child will go to college
Private schooling
Residential moves
Parental involvement in community organizations
Church attendance
Parental emotional support
Results -2
O The children of the women did better than
women who didn’t complete college
O Our analysis is unequivocal, that the cycle of
disadavantage is not yet broken – class and
race continues to influence life’s chances.
But we also find that increased entry to
higher education weakens the cycle of
Effect of Open Access minority
1969 – 4% minority
1970 the figure was 16%
What did you take away from
this presentation?
O What are your take aways. Individually.
O Share with others.
O What woud you include in your programs
that are not occurriing today
If you were to design your own
Attewell, P. , Lavin D. Passing the Torch: Does higher education for the
disadantaged pay off across the generations. American Sociological
Assocation’s Rose series in Sociology, Russell Sage Foundation, New York City,
Cobb, Jelani - Class Notes: What’s really at stake When I school closes” or The
rise and fall of an urban high school. August 31, 2015 p. 32
Modeste, W. A Critical Analysis of the Changing Queens College Student: A 12
year study of a Higher Education Opportunity Program of the City University of
New York 1966-1978. A Thesis in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the
degree of Master of Arts in Urban Studies in the Graduate Division of Queens
College, the City University of New York, September,1980
Resnik S., Kaplan B. Kaplan’s College Programs for Black Adults published in
The Journal of Higher Education Vol. 42, No. 3 (Mar, pp. 202-218 )
Resnik, S. and Kaplan B. College preparatory programs for Ghetto Students:
Queens College – a Case Study, JGE, The Journal of General Education (1971)
Vol XXIII, No. 1. Published by the Pennsylvania State University Press. University
Park and London.
Townsend, A. N. (1977). A critical analysis of the development of the SEEK
program: a study of the establishment and development of New York City
University's Educational Opportunity Program for the four year colleges.
Personal Conversations with Frank Franklin, Director of Operation SEEK, William
Modeste, Counselor Professor at SEEK, and informal historian, Rudy
Westerband, former student, Sol Resnik,one of the founders of the program,
Barbara Kaplan, former instructor in the program, Ray Franklin, colleague and
friend of Sol Resnik,
Queens College Operation SEEK Freshman Handbook 2013
Newspaper articles:
Kartsimadis, Chryso The Unkindest Cut of all: Cries of Racism resurfaces. SEEK
goes under the knife, Queens World, March 1995
After 40 years of age, SEEK Boasts Thousands of Alumni, including many who
reached the top, CUNY Matters, Fall 2005
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