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ERIC Number: EJ873942
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-1067-1803
The Neglected Majority--20th Anniversary
Beebe, Anthony E.; Walleri, R. Dan
Community College Journal, v75 n5 p38-43 Apr-May 2005
It is the 20th anniversary of the release of Dale Parnell's landmark book "The Neglected Majority". In this book, Parnell pointed out that for too long America's educational system has focused on the highest and lowest achievers. He made the case that most of those students in the middle two high school quartiles neither prepare for nor aspire to baccalaureate study. He further pointed out that in 1985, roughly 80% of the adult population in this country did not hold a bachelor's degree. Yet, as deep-rooted tradition has it, the baccalaureate degree represents the solitary image of success. It is the "gold standard" against which all other measures of success are compared. The result of this is that many students go through life feeling like dropouts and failures because they were not able or did not aspire to obtain a four-year degree. Even for many community college administrators and faculty in this country, the ultimate mission and goal is to feed four-year institutions with transfer students. The allure of baccalaureate degrees is so great that some community colleges have now decided to offer them in selected disciplines. Although there are certainly valid reasons for this recent trend--labor market needs and failure of four-year college and university systems to respond--the obsession with baccalaureate degrees is the classic case of the tail wagging the dog. The question that Parnell posed to everyone was in essence: What is educational success for the average student, those in the middle, those for whom the baccalaureate degree is not the right option, that 80% who comprise the "neglected majority?" Using current data, the authors revisit Parnell's theory and examine who comprises the neglected majority, including an ethnic breakdown. They share Parnell's comments from an interview, looking back and looking forward at "The Neglected Majority" and explore the impact of the book. (Contains 4 figures and 1 table.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A