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ERIC Number: ED515226
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jun-1
Pages: 36
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
Access to Democracy Project: Community Report on Attitudes Regarding Educational Attainment. Grand Rapids (Michigan) Surrounding Communities
Daun-Barnett, Nathan J.; Bowman, Nicholas A.
National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good (NJ1)
The "Access to Democracy" project has two broad goals. It is an effort to understand community beliefs, attitudes and conditions that shape educational outcomes for community youth, and it is a way to focus community discussions on efforts that support higher educational attainment for residents. This report focuses on the lessons learned in the City of Grand Rapids, Michigan and the four contiguous counties of Allegan, Kent, Muskegon, and Ottawa. Over the course of 6 months, more than 400 educators, students, neighbors, community members, business, and political leaders participated in one of 40 dialogues held throughout the region to discuss the question "Who college is for?" The dialogues suggest that residents of these communities care deeply about education and value it for themselves and their sons and daughters, but they differ in terms of who should have access and how to provide it. Based upon the dialogues organized within these communities, it was found that people's opinions become better informed by engaging others in the issues. Finally, when people viewed the dialogue as an opportunity for their voices to be heard by policy makers, they were eager to participate. Frequently people indicated they were disengaged from politics, but upon further discussion it is possible that this reflects a lack of appropriate opportunities to participate in political activity, and a resulting sense of powerlessness over key public decisions. Appendices include: (1) Who is College For?; (2) Pre- and Post-Discussion Questionnaire; and (3) Community Partners. (Contains 3 figures and 2 footnotes.) [This paper was created with the cooperation of the Grand Rapids Community.]
National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good. 2239 School of Education Building, 610 East University Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48109. Tel: 734-615-8882; Fax: 734-615-9777; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Tests/Questionnaires
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Kellogg Foundation; Lumina Foundation for Education
Authoring Institution: University of Michigan, National Forum on Higher Education for the Public Good
Identifiers - Location: Michigan