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It's Debatable: October 4, 1968 - Student power

Drugs, student power, non-conformity, problems in education - adults can talk about these subjects all they want, but it's the students who really know the score. This was the premise behind It's Debatable, a CBC Radio program that ran on Friday evenings during the socially turbulent years of 1967 to 1969. Recorded in high school auditoriums, the panel would typically consist of two teenage students (usually a girl and a boy) and an adult expert in the topic at hand. Walter Pitman hosted during the spring of 1967, but the host from September 1967 onward was the witty and provocative Elwy Yost.

There's a new phenomenon spreading through North American schools in 1968. It's called "student power." But what exactly is it? And is student power a good thing for society, or is it harmful? This is the subject of this 1968 episode of It's Debatable. Two students from Toronto's Malvern Collegiate are on the panel, along with Frank Balmer, principal of Toronto's Mackenzie Collegiate. As the debate progresses, the conversation also addresses whether or not high schools actually prepare students for the real world.
• This clip mentions an essay by Jerry Farber called "Student as Nigger." First published in 1967, this high-profile essay was controversial in its comparison of the relationship between a master and his black slave with the relationship between professors and students. Farber himself was a civil rights activist, so his use of the racist word "nigger" was not intended to denigrate black people; it was employed to add shock value to the article and underline the problems with the education system.
Medium: Radio
Program: It's Debatable
Broadcast Date: Oct. 4, 1968
Guest(s): Frank Balmer, Tim Johnson
Moderator: Elwy Yost
Duration: 29:18
Photo: Photographer: Terry Pearce / Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa

Last updated: March 27, 2014

Page consulted on March 27, 2014

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