Link Friday: 1920s Report Cards and CUNY’s Mission

2011 September 23
by Ellen Noonan

Report card of Marie Garaventa, a student at the Manhattan Trade School for Girls from 1927-1929

Slate‘s recent five-part Permanent Record series begins with the tale of how its author Paul Lukas and a few friends stumbled upon a file cabinet in the basement of Stuyvesant High School marked “Throw Out” that was filled with 1920s era report cards from the Manhattan Trade School for Girls. Lukas and his friends grabbed as many as they could, and the series chronicles both his attempts to track down the descendants of the young women immortalized on the cards and what they tell us about women, work, and education in 1920s and 1930s New York City. While I sigh a little for the dissertation that was surely lost when the complete set of report cards was consigned to the landfill, the series—buoyed by Lukas’s loving obsession with these artifacts—is a delightful read.

Don’t miss “I develop free software because of CUNY and Blackboard” by CUNY’s own Boone Gorges, an eloquent and incisive blog post about why he has committed a great deal of uncompensated time to programming open source courseware alternatives to Blackboard. It’s a worthy reminder that we should resist business-as-usual when it undermines CUNY’s public mission.

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