ERIC Number: EJ895372
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Reference Count: 0
Putting the Community Back into the College
Ayers, David F.
Academe, v96 n3 p9-11 May-Jun 2010
American popular culture currently defines the community college as a job-training center, a site of remedial education, or a vocational institution. Certainly job training is essential in a period of low employment, and community colleges can and should help Americans achieve prosperity, engage in meaningful work, and achieve their productive potential. Indeed, no institution is better adapted to meet this goal than the community college. The community college is an ideal vocational education center because of its ability to expedite programs; its extensive geographic distribution across rural, suburban, and urban America; and its mission to serve local constituents of varying means, abilities, and motivations. At the same time, while corporate leaders may have a clear understanding of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they seek in workers, they have no privileged understanding of student interests, abilities, or goals. Corporate boards often do not meet in the communities where their employees work, and more often than not they lack even a basic appreciation of the cultural, health, and environmental needs of local communities. For the author, the community college was first a place to explore new worlds and develop democratic leadership skills. America's community colleges are full of potential leaders. The author contends that their education should not be focused on or determined by the needs of corporate boards. Tying community college curricula to the demands of corporate boardrooms will not solve the country's problems.
Descriptors: Community Colleges, Job Training, Vocational Education, Leadership, Institutional Mission, Educational Objectives, Educational Development, Economic Development, Relevance (Education), Educational Needs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Authoring Institution: N/A