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ERIC Number: EJ867365
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 13
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
Higher Education in Service to Democracy: Meeting the Truman Commission's Expectations
Fonte, Richard
Community College Journal, v79 n5 p44-46 Apr-May 2009
As President Barack Obama begins to confront the many challenges facing his administration, it is timely to examine the role of community colleges in American democracy and the democratic process. During the heated 2008 presidential campaign, many colleges served as candidate venues for their local communities. On these occasions, community colleges became part of the national dialogue, as candidates from both parties acknowledged the importance of community colleges in strengthening the nation's workforce and economy. The 1947 Truman Commission recommended that community colleges make higher education accessible to the majority of Americans for economic and democratic benefits. Today, more than a half a century since the Truman Commission issued its report, there is broad consensus that community colleges have helped level the economic playing field. Challenges remain, however, and pressure is mounting to achieve a second Truman Commission goal--to strengthen political equality and civic participation in American democracy. Now, more than ever, community colleges need to embrace their role as "Democracy's Colleges." The Truman Commission recognized that freedom and democracy are not self-sustainable. The report further stressed that the majority of citizens would benefit from higher education and what it called "education in service to democracy." Its authors maintained that purposeful general education could facilitate the "ability to act as informed and responsible citizens." A commitment to the full spirit of the Truman Commission requires community colleges to be as equally committed to educating for citizenship as they are to educating the workforce. This suggests the necessity of maintaining and strengthening liberal arts/general education core courses in areas impacting citizenship education.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A