For Democracy's Future: Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission (Part 1)

Uploaded by whitehouse on 10.01.2012

Roberto Rodriguez: Hi, good afternoon.
Audience members: Good afternoon.
Roberto Rodriquez: Welcome everyone, to the White House.
My name is Roberto Rodriguez.
I am the Special Assistant to President Obama for Education
here at the Domestic Policy Council,
and it's my honor to welcome you here today and to thank you for
joining us today for Democracy's Future,
Education Reclaims Our Civic Mission.
I want to welcome each of you here in person,
as well as those of you who are joining us online,
tuning in on
It's an exciting day today that we have prepared,
and I want to do all I can to make sure that we fit it all in,
so I'm going to be brief here in welcoming you.
I'd like to speak briefly about why
we're hosting today's conference.
I want to provide a high-level overview of today's agenda,
and I'd like to do just some brief housekeeping before
introducing our first speaker for opening remarks.
So I'd like to discuss a few points that are relevant to
today's event.
First, we're gathered to begin a national conversation,
a national dialogue about the purpose of education in our
country and to explore the role of schools, colleges,
universities, and their partners,
in preparing our young people to be informed,
engaged participants in civic and democratic life and in each
of their respective communities.
This afternoon's convening is framed on three important
reports that I'd like to mention,
and these are important contributions to civic education
that will be discussed throughout today's proceedings.
The first is "Guardian of Democracy: The Civic
Mission of Schools."
This is produced by the Coalition for the Civic Mission
of Schools and released in October of last year.
The second is "A Crucible Moment: College Learning
and Democracy's Future."
This report is being released today.
It was commissioned by our Administration and produced
by the National Task Force on Civic Learning
and Democratic Engagement.
And third, "Civic Learning and Engagement in Democracy:
A Roadmap and Call to Action."
This was produced by the Department of Education
and also being released today.
So I also want to highlight that we will be announcing some key
commitments by the Obama Administration and other
education stakeholders gathered today.
That's another reason why we've all come together.
And then finally, and most importantly,
we are here to issue a call to action.
To accept a shared responsibility for the
future of our students, and to galvanize all of our partners
here today: Education, business, philanthropy,
community-based organizations, and others,
in this important effort to make sure that our young people are
prepared for full citizenship so that they're ready to tackle the
grand challenges that face our country and really lead
us forward in the years to come.
So I know I speak for everyone here today that I say that today
must not be a culminating event, it's really a catalytic one.
This is the first of a national conversation that needs to
happen to really promote civic learning and civic
engagement in society.
To give us just a quick sketch of our agenda,
our Under Secretary -- and I'm going to ask each of my
colleagues here to raise their hand so that the audience can
recognize them as I mention them.
Our Under Secretary of Education Martha Kanter will tell us why
the Department of Education commissioned
the Crucible Moment report.
And Carol Schneider of the Association for American
Colleges and Universities will highlight the report's findings.
Our National Endowment for the Humanities Chairman Jim Leach
will moderate a panel on higher education's call
for engagement in democracy.
Jim, thank you.
And Kettering Foundation President David Matthews
will moderate a discussion with students and educators titled,
"Changing Lives, Changing Communities."
Harry Boyte, Director of the Center for Democracy and
Citizenship at Augsburg College, will describe the new American
Commonwealth Project and introduce a short video
that provides the framework for our breakout sessions.
And then we'll break into small group discussions.
So some of you are joining us on
I know many of you have organized your
own local discussions.
When we return for the remainder of the program,
we'll hear report-outs from these White House discussions.
Those of you online can send highlights of your conversations
to, and then we'll hear some
announcements from these new civic learning commitments
before remarks from three key administration officials.
We'll hear from our own outstanding Secretary of
Education Arne Duncan.
We'll hear from Robert Velasco, the CEO of the Corporation for
National and Community Service, and then my own colleague,
Jonathan Greenblatt, Director of the White House Office of Social
Innovation and Civic Participation.
We'll be guided all along throughout the course of
our program today by Dr. Eduardo Ochoa,
who's Assistant Secretary for Postsecondary Education at the
U.S. Department of Education, and he'll serve as our MC
throughout our time here.
And finally, I'd like to just issue a brief reminder for you
to silence your electronic devices throughout our
conversation today.
So now without further ado, it's my pleasure to introduce to you
Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Assistant
to the President for Intergovernmental Affairs.
Ms. Jarrett has been a beacon of civic leadership both in
government and in business.
It's an honor for me to welcome her.
Please join me in welcoming her.
Valerie Jarrett: You have a very nice voice.
Thank you, Roberto.
Good afternoon, everyone.
It is a pleasure to be here.
I want to start by singling out for thanks both Jim Leach and
David Matthews, who did so much in terms of their leadership,
pulling together this forum today,
and of course Martha Kanter, who Roberto mentioned from the
Department of Education has also been instrumental,
and Arne Duncan, our Secretary, is looking so forward to joining
you a little later in the day.
President Obama has made education his top priority.
Hopefully that's no secret to you.
And as we think about the education system and preparing
our young people for job opportunities after they finish
school, it's also important to think about the fact that we're
preparing them for life.
And I come at this -- and I'll just tell you my personal story
-- I served as Vice Chair on the board of the University of
Chicago for a number of years and Chair of the Medical Center,
and it's one of the organizations that I
worked in with the First Lady.
And her first position at the University of Chicago
was working in the President's office organizing the students
to do volunteer work.
And it wasn't that the students didn't do volunteer work before,
it's that the President had not valued it and hadn't helped
organize the students and hadn't helped steer them to the paths
of really constructive organizations within the
Chicago area where they could volunteer and actually thrive
and have a part of their education that rounded them
out as a whole person.
And we spent a lot of time during those years talking
about how best to optimize these extraordinary academic
institutions to broaden the shaping of the students.
I served on the board of a local community development
organization also when I was living in Hyde Park and the
university placement of its senior officers on that board,
and the mission of that not for profit was to work with
the communities surrounding the university to improve
the quality of life for the residents.
The University, for those of you who aren't familiar
with Chicago, is in a great neighborhood not far from
downtown right on the lake, but it's surrounded by -- on three
sides by very poor, predominantly African-American
communities, the fourth side by this beautiful lake.
And for so long the University didn't have a great relationship
with the surrounding community, and through the leadership of
then President Sonnenschein, supported by President Randel
and then President Zimmer, it really worked to break down the
barriers of its relationship with the surrounding
neighborhoods, not just because it was in the self interest of
the University, but because it was a part of its mission.
And I think that it sent a message to the students about
their responsibility for the surrounding community,
and that if they really were going to be a member not just
of the institutional community but of the broader community,
that they had to engage.
And so that experience really, I think, shaped my life,
I know it shaped the First Lady and it certainly shaped the
President, since we used to talk to him a great deal about this
when he was a professor at the University of Chicago.
And the whole thought was let's get everyone engaged,
and let's really focus on the students from the perspective
of their civic responsibility and in addition to their
academic excellence.
And so we welcome you here, and we hope that this provides us,
as Roberto said, a launching off point, a catalyst,
the beginning of what we hope will be an ongoing engagement.
We're hoping that we'll be able to share best practices across
such an extraordinary group of experts in the field,
and we really want for all those who are listening out there or
watching on the internet, to heighten the dialogue and have
everyone appreciate this really unique opportunity we have with
a President who values education as much as President Obama does,
and who also values the importance of engagement
and sharing across the country.
So I am delighted to be here to welcome you to the White
House and I hope that you have a terrific afternoon.
We're so excited about this, and we look forward to an
ongoing conversation with you.
So thank you very much.
Eduardo Ochoa: Thank you so much, Ms. Jarrett, we know she's very busy.
It says a lot in terms of this Administration's commitment to
educating students for citizenship to have Valerie
Jarrett join us today.
As it was mentioned, we have an ambitious agenda today,
so we're going to move right into our next speakers.
Under Secretary Martha Kanter is a lifelong educator and the
Administration's lead champion for President Obama's 2020 goal
to have the highest proportion of college graduates in the
world by 2020.
Under Secretary Kanter will discuss what led her to
commission the report being released today by the National
Task Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement over
a year ago.
And we'll then hear from Carol Schneider as well.
Now to Dr. Kanter, my boss.
(laughter and applause)
Martha Kanter: Good afternoon.
I'm thrilled to be here and delighted that all of us could
come together really for one purpose.
So you heard Eduardo talk about the President's 2020 goal,
which is to have the best educated,
most competitive workforce in the world.
And when I heard him talk about that shortly after he
was elected in 2009, I thought to myself,
who will these people be?
What kinds of people will they be to lead this country forward?
So while the goal may be to have more graduates,
I think stepping back from that a little bit and thinking about
who those graduates will be will be the people who will lead the
next generation.
So for us, the goal is to prepare each new generation to
be hopefully more civic minded, more engaged,
and more ready to lead so that we can do a lot better than in
my view we've done in the last 50 to 100 years.
So, you know, when I think about over this past year what's
happened, the universal human hunger for equal justice and
progress and for shared tolerance and dignity was
unleashed with far-reaching consequences in an unexpected
part of the world.
As the Arab Spring crossed borders and seasons passed,
we looked across and looked at the great price of freedom.
And so like many of you, our eyes were on the Middle East,
we were looking at what was happening across not only
America because of that, but across the world.
And we witnessed, I think, all of us,
the great price of freedom and the far greater promise that
gives men and women the courage to pay that price.
So when I think now to where we are today,
I truly believe that the struggle to shape and secure
more representative forms of government in nations around the
globe will be a hallmark of the 21st century.
So I, like many of you in this audience,
worry about the democracy and then worry about who are the
students that we're graduating that will become the people who
will lead our democracy forward and run the corporations,
and run the small businesses, and be the teachers in the
school, and be the firefighter next door.
So I think it's in that context that when President Obama gave
his speech at Cairo University in 2009,
he said we have a responsibility to join together on behalf of
the world that we seek, a world where governments serve their
citizens and the rights of all God's children are respected,
but we have the power to make the world we seek only if we
have the courage to make a new beginning.
And I think those words really resonated with me,
and I'm sure it's an audience of friends
here that felt similarly.
So today, you know, for our country,
this is no less consequential for me than the Arab Spring has
been most recently.
It's time to renew our sense of who we are, what we stand for,
what we would like to see happen in our colleges and universities
and our K-12 schools.
I'm thrilled that the Civic Mission of Schools is here,
as well as all the higher education leaders.
I see Nancy Kantor out in the audience from Syracuse,
and others who have done so much.
I think every person in this room has done so much over the
last 20 and 30 years, and I think it's time for us to all
galvanize together to see where we go next.
So that's what we hope to do this afternoon.
As no time as today has education mattered more.
A generation ago we led the world in college attainment;
today we're 16th in the world.
So when President Obama says he'd like us to be the best we
can be and I know there's a flag that goes up sometimes
saying does being the best mean that other people will
not be the best?
And to that I say no, it means that we need many more bests in
this country, and the reason we can do this is to have many more
high-performing, high-functioning democracies
that will be led by the children in our K-12 schools and the
adults that are in college today.
So by promoting the reforms that I think our Administration has
stood for -- at least I've been here two and a half years,
I'm not sure about Roberto and the others,
other colleagues from the Department of Education --
but when we think about excellence and equity in
education, and the nomenclature about winning the future,
for me it's winning our civic life.
It's winning our democracy.
It's taking our democracy back to its roots and moving it
forward so we can really have a modern democracy
that we all are proud of.
And the President has made very clear that education is a civic
and moral imperative, as well as an economic imperative.
So that also has been a driver for me and for Dr. Ochoa and
others of us in the Department of Education,
I think you'll hear Arne Duncan talk about this when he comes
and speaks with you at the end of the afternoon.
I'm very concerned, as you'll read in the Crucible Moment
report, the 2010 National Assessment of Education
Progress, NAPE, among the fourth and eighth and twelfth grade
students tested, no age group has reached even 30 percent
performance and proficiency in civics.
I mean, that's, for our nation we have to change this,
and higher education can play an enormous role in doing that,
especially with the talk and work around the college and
career standards.
As we raise standards let's raise the content of what civic
learning really can be for students in the K-12 system,
as well as the undergraduate and graduate students.
NAPE found a persistent and significant civic achievement
gap among racial and ethnic groups,
and documented declines in our overall civic knowledge
of high school seniors between 2006 and 2010.
So it's for good reason that our current lack of civic education
and participation has been called by some
scholars a civic recession.
And that's why we have to have a renewed focus on civic learning
in our course work and across the curriculum,
and across all sectors of education, public and private,
for profit, nonprofit organizations.
As noted in the recent studies, including the "Guardian of
Democracy" report that you have in your packet which
we're making available to you today, I don't, I think,
need to preach to the choir about the benefits of civic
knowledge and skills and dispositions, why this works.
What we need is more scholarship,
and I think you'll hear from some of our scholars like Harry
Boyte and others who are here this afternoon, Carol Schneider,
about the importance of scholarship and why we hope
those of you from the philanthropic and education
sectors can help us really get more scholarship around why
civic learning changes how students pass through the
education system at all levels.
Does it make them better students?
Does it help them graduate faster?
Be retained?
Be excited about what they're learning?
All of those pieces.
So in short, I think I want to just hand
over to Carol Schneider.
I'll talk a little bit about what you'll see
in a few moments.
We have a number of reports; we have nine areas of action.
We're releasing our roadmap for civic learning and democratic
engagement today in the Department,
and you're the first to actually get a copy.
So we're very excited about that.
And a lot of what we are doing is building on the work that all
of you together have done over the last 20, 30 years
that we've been engaged in this.
So you'll have the opportunity to look at this graphic design
that has taken a lot of work behind the scenes.
It's called our star.
And it has five points, and Dr. Boyte will tell you more
about it, about how to advance civic learning,
what does evidence look like if we talk about civic impact.
I know that AASCU is here, the American Association of State
Colleges and Universities; they've done a tremendous amount
of work in democracy and looking at civic indicators,
how to expand public scholarship and research,
and how to really deepen civic identity for all of the people
in our education system and throughout our communities.
We have so many coming back into education, you know,
one of the statistics I run around with quite a bit is why
over in six years do we lose 50 percent of the students in
higher education on average.
That is a tragedy.
That is human capital for the business community,
that is talent for educators like me that
are lost to our democracy.
So we've got to get these people back in,
and this is one way back in.
Still, you know, all of us in government -- and I hope I'm
saying this for other people in government here -- we know that
the best ideas about how to work together and how to get things
done are going to come from you.
Are going to come from the field.
And we know that our role will be to provide the leadership to
figure out what the role of federal policy can be,
how we can have more impact in all of this.
And a year and a half ago, as Roberto mentioned,
we charged the National Task Force on Civic Learning and
Democratic Engagement to assess the current state of what's
happening in education for democracy.
And that helped us bring together with many of you who
were part of that effort over a hundred people to produce a
report that you also have in your packet that is called,
"The Crucible Moment" that Carol Schneider will talk to you about
in just a moment.
And it really has been what really energized the creation of
the roadmap that our Department of Education has put together.
And what -- that roadmap we plan to take out to other agencies in
government, much less use it as our work plan going forward.
So let me close by just telling you that before taking office,
when our President outlined his vision to reinforce the ideals
of democracy, he took as his theme, "We the people,
in order to form a more perfect union."
Those were his words that he captured from the Constitution.
And so that also is the guiding force for what we're doing,
how we're tying our 2020 goal to that,
how we're tying all of our work on college completion,
and certainly the foundation to all of that is to have the kinds
of people we want to lead our country forward, as I said.
So now let me ask Dr. Carol Schneider to come up.
She has been truly a tireless leader of the National Task
Force on Civic Learning and Democratic Engagement.
It's a long title.
She'll tell you about the key findings and recommendations
from "A Crucible Moment," and then we'll get into the heart
and meat of the discussion.
Thanks so much.
Carol Schneider: Okay. Well, good afternoon, and thank you so much, Martha,
for bringing us together.
The room is full of friends and long-time leaders in this
effort, but it is a joy to come together as we launch
the next phase.
Martha has mentioned to you "Guardians of Democracy,"
the report on civic learning in K-12 education,
and "A Crucible Moment," the report on higher education that
we're releasing this afternoon is very much a companion piece
to that.
The core message in both these reports is captured in the
subtitle of today's forum.
We are calling on educators at all levels to reclaim our civic
mission, to put it back at the center,
and to make both civic learning and democratic engagement a
widely shared expectation and an achievement for all students at
all levels from school through graduation.
We also are calling on educators to reinvent the way we prepare
students to take responsibility for democracy and to promote a
contemporary design for civic learning that combines rich
knowledge, including knowledge of democratic principles and
practices, with direct hands-on face-to-face collaborative work
in our communities on public problems that affect the future
of our democracy.
Problems like poverty, illiteracy, and nutrition,
and health, and the environment.
So the key idea in this new report is that we need to
prepare students with knowledge for democratic community and
civic problem solving, and we need to replenish our capacity
to work together even or perhaps especially when we
disagree with our partners.
But before I talk about these specific recommendations,
I want to acknowledge and thank everyone who actually
contributed to this work: Martha Kanter and her extraordinary
colleagues, civic minded to a fault at the University -- at
the Department of Education.
The other members of the National Task Force on Civic
Learning and Democratic Engagement.
Larry Braskamp of Global Perspectives Institute who
actually helped lead the whole effort that resulted in this
report, and I especially want to salute and would she raise her
hand, please, my colleague Caryn McTighe Musil,
who served as the scribe and the lead author for this report.
But most of all, I want to acknowledge all the
other authors of this report, many of whom are actually in
this room, came together to talk with us in answer to Martha's
question, where are we today?
Where do we want to go?
What does it mean to take civic learning and democratic
engagement to the next level?
This report was written through a year-long dialogue with many
of you and educators around the country,
including some who are tuning in through livestreaming from
sites elsewhere.
All of you helped us frame these recommendations,
and we tried to give voice to your insights and your vision.
But even more importantly, the work that has been done
by people in this room and around the country shows that
what we are recommending in this report can be done,
because you have already created pockets of promising practice
all over the country that shows us that what we're recommending
is achievable.
So what are we recommending?
We're signaling with the very title of this report,
"A Crucible Moment" the scope and the severity of
the challenges we face at this moment in our history.
Clearly we have entered a turbulent,
roiling period of long-term change, change in the economy,
in the global community, in the way we interact as a nation with
other parts of the world taking their own place on
the international stage.
We've always thought of ourselves as an opportunity
society, but now we face the reality of deepening economic
divides and of growing worry that too many Americans may
be left behind.
So like earlier difficult eras in this history, in our history,
this time of severe testing, this crucible moment,
forces us back to foundational decisions about who we are as a
society, what we believe, what it actually means to contribute
to democracy.
And Crucible argues that as we face these difficult and
far-reaching questions, higher education can and should play a
far more central, visible, and influential leadership role in
building civic capital, intellectual, practical,
and ethical, that democracy needs at this moment to ensure
its future.
The report points to earlier crucible moments
in American history.
For example, the Civil War, when we invested in the Moral Act and
founded land grant universities, democracy colleges;
or the period following World War II when we were again up to
our eyeballs in debt, but nonetheless turned directly
to a broad investment in higher education to be the carrier of
democratic ideals and practices.
And this is what we are arguing we need to do again today.
But as virtually everyone and many of you who came
to our round tables behind this report underscored,
we need to face the unhappy reality that education's
democracy mission, both in the schools and in postsecondary
education, has largely been pushed to the sidelines.
For the past generation we have talked at least in public only
about the connections between higher education
and the economy.
The "Guardians of Democracy" report on the schools points out
that we have focused our entire educational system at all levels
primarily on two big C's: College and careers,
while falling completely silent on that third C,
which is citizenship.
So in its key recommendation, Crucible is calling on all
of us to work together to change the national dialogue,
to recommit ourselves to democracy as a core mission
of higher education, essential to our future,
and to develop that contemporary framework for civic learning
that includes and pulls together rich knowledge, strong skills.
Examine democratic values.
What does it really mean to be committed to liberty,
to democracy, to justice, to human dignity?
What does that mean?
What does it require of us?
And also direct experience in actually contributing
to our communities.
Now thanks to the creativity of civic-minded educators in this
room and around the country, the component parts for the new
vision we're recommending are all already in place.
You have been inventing them over the last two
generations -- two decades.
We have new curriculum models for general education that
explore democratic issues and dilemmas.
We have new curriculum models for moving public issues and
social responsibility directly into students'
career preparation.
Not separating it from preparation for the economy,
but putting it right in the middle of it.
We have powerful pedagogies and research on them like intergroup
dialogues, interfaith dialogues, service learning,
that teach people how to work together even
when they disagree.
We have created public partnerships between higher
education and civic organizations that have already
been formed and that are working together over the long term to
solve systemic problems in our society.
And we have new supports and recognition for public
scholarship, and the recognition that we need this kind of public
scholarship, scholars working together with the communities to
make a difference to democracy.
And we have new tools that we're working on now to how to assess
the actual results of our civic investments.
But these democracy innovations are still
partial rather than pervasive.
The evidence suggests, taken together -- and there's a lot of
it in this report -- that only about one-third of our students
are even taking a single course that connects their academic
studies with the community, although when students do do
that kind of thing it actually has a positive effect on their
completion, their persistence and their completion.
And only one-third of our students think that college
really helped them gain in their capacity
to contribute to democracy.
So the goal for the immediate future needs to be to involve
everyone in this kind of learning,
not just some students, as is now the case.
The liberal arts and sciences core curriculum is very much
central to this vision for 21st century democratic learning,
and "A Crucible Moment" calls for new attention in the core
curriculum to democracy itself.
We want to salute institutions like Miami Dade,
which is the largest not-for-profit institution
in the country, has 150,000 students,
and requires civic learning and engagement of every single
one of them.
But general education is only a part of the equation.
College majors also have to play a part in this.
And one of our path-breaking recommendations is that every
major, every discipline, including the career and
professional fields, needs to include public questions and
public work centrally in its curriculum.
Those who are going into careers in science, in health,
in engineering, in education, in business, accounting,
public service and in the trades,
are all going to face public questions in the course of
their careers.
And what we want to do is to provide opportunities as many
institutions now do.
We mentioned institutions like Worcester Polytechnic in
Massachusetts and California State University Monterey Bay
who's President is here, two institutions who have made civic
learning central to the way they prepare people for careers in
their majors.
Now, many people are going to respond to this by saying this
sounds like a good thing but can we afford it?
And what about jobs, don't we really need to invest in jobs
at this point in our history?
But this is not an either/or choice.
Employers are pleading with us to send them people who know how
to work with diverse partners in teams to solve problems.
And when we put students into the community with partners in
diverse teams to learn how to solve civic problems,
we are also building capacities that they
need for the workplace.
So it's a win/win; good for the economy and good for democracy.
The long-term challenge, of course,
is not just to point to these marvelous examples of good
practice that you have already invented.
The long-term challenge is to take this work to
the next level.
We're reaching a few students.
We have some wonderful examples all over the country and you
invented them.
But we need to commit ourselves today not just to new efforts
but to newly aligned and coordinated efforts,
to pull together all these pockets of work on different
parts of our enterprise.
To recommit ourselves in a deepened understanding of what
it means to build capital for democracy and to make that work,
a point of pride, and a signature
for all of American education.
Thank you.
Eduardo Ochoa: Martha and Carol, thank you, very much,
for providing a great way of framing the conversation that
is going to be following.
I am a great admirer of Carol's work at ACU and also the work
that was the foundation for it led by Judity Ramaley and
Greater Expectations.
Now we're going to move into our two panel discussions and
I would ask Jim Leach and the panelists to move up to
the stage as I introduce Jim.
The topic of our first panel explores "Higher Education's
Call for Engagement in Democracy" and will be
moderated by the National Endowment for the Humanities
Chairman, Jim Leach.
Jim was nominated by President Obama to act as the Chairman of
the National Endowment for the Humanities,
an independent grant-making organization of the U.S.
government dedicated to supporting research, education,
preservation and public programs in the humanities.
Prior to his nomination, Chairman Leach worked
in academia.
And for 30 years served as a representative in Congress.
And probably Congress was a better place for it.
Thank you, Jim, for joining us today and we look forward
to the panel.
James Leach: Well, thank you, very much.
The civic mission in higher education is two dimensions.
The first, the academic realm, is designed to expand
a student's knowledge and skills, empowering him or
her to utilize learning and future vocations,
avocations and citizenship arenas.
The second experiential learning is about hands-on
civic engagement.
Within the academy there is a rife debate about what is
essential to study and what are critical activities to
incentivize in a job-short economy an increasingly
splintered social circumstance.
There is a growing trend, for instance,
to move away from studies in the liberal arts.
This trend, in my view, is a profound mistake,
one which jeopardizes our democracy and the national
interest itself.
One of the myths of our time is that the liberal arts are
impractical, unrelated to a subsequent work environment and
the challenges of public policy.
Actually, they're not only practical but central to
long-term American competitiveness in our capacity
to interrelate effectively with the rest of the world.
What is needed in the world in constant flux is a new
understanding of the meaning of the basics in education.
Traditionally the basics are about the three Rs which in my
state of Iowa are sometimes referred to as readin',
writin' and wrestlin'.
But however defined they're critical.
Nonetheless they are insufficient.
What are also needed are studies and activities that provide
prospective on our times and foster citizenship,
citizen understanding of our own communities,
other cultures and the creative process.
To understand and compete in the world we need a fourth R,
what for lack of a precise moniker might be described as
reality which includes not only relevant knowledge of the world
near and far, but the imaginative capacity and
experiential background to put oneself in the shoes of others.
Rote thinking is the hallmark of the status quo.
Stimulating the imagination is the key to the future.
As Einstein once observed, imagination is more important
than knowledge.
History, literature, philosophy, and related disciplines,
are studies that provide reference points.
They give context to problems in the communities in which we live
and life on the planet.
As President Obama thoughtfully once noted,
"creativity and a thirst for understanding are the fuel that
has fed our nation's success for centuries.
We have, in other words, little rational choice except
to understand others in our communities more deeply."
Which brings me to the second dimension of civic education.
Reality, the fourth R, requires understanding and learning that
engagement uniquely provides.
Students know less than their parents and grandparents have
citizenship responsibilities, just as vocational internships
provide glimpses of the job world,
engagement in community provides lessons in life and citizenship.
To discuss these issues we have today three exceptional
panelists: Brian Murphy, the President of DeAnza College
in Cupertino, California, has taught political theory at the
University of California Santa Cruz,
Santa Clair University and San Francisco State University.
He has served on numerous city commissions and nonprofit boards
in San Francisco.
Dr. Murphy received a B.A. from Williams College and
advanced degrees from the University of California Berkeley.
Richard Giarasci, the President of Wagner College
in Long Island, leads the Port Richmond Partnership,
an effort in which students work in partnership with over
20 neighborhood organizations and institutions addressing the
challenges of the Port Richmond neighborhood in the areas of
health care, K-12 education, and economic development.
The partnership is led among other initiatives in the
creation of two charter schools.
Dr. Guarasci received a B.S. from Fordham University,
and advanced degrees from Indiana University.
Azar Nafisi, a visiting professor at the School of
Advanced International Studies of Johns Hopkins University,
is best known as the author of the national and best seller
"Reading Lolita in Tehran," a memoir in books,
and "Things I Have Been Silent About,"
a memoir about cultural history and loss.
She has written widely for the New York Times, Washington Post,
Wall Street Journal, Financial Times,
The Guardian and New Republic.
Dr. Nafisi is currently working on a book entitled "Republic of
the Imagination" which is about the power of literature to
liberate minds and peoples.
Brian Murphy: Thank you.
And thank all of you for coming.
It's an honor to be here today to be with so many
friends and colleagues.
I'm here to give you some good news - the founding of a
national coalition of community colleges committed to this work.
Because that new project was inspired by our students and
grew out of their work, I thought I might start first
with the students.
DeAnza College is a public two-year community college,
one of 112 community colleges in California.
We are a large, diverse, urban institution, 24,500 students,
serving one of the most dynamic and contradictory regions in the
United States.
If Silicon Valley fancies itself the center of post industrial
innovation, it is also a place of startling
inequality, underemployment, underfunded schools
and decimated public services.
DeAnza's students come from that region, all across it.
And they share many of the characteristics of community
college students all across the nation.
They are overwhelmingly first generation.
They are largely working class and immigrant.
They most often are working full time.
And many are balancing their obligations as students with
their obligations as parents.
Many of them come to us right out of high school,
but many more come to us as refugees from an economy that
no longer employs them.
Like many community college students across the country,
we have an astonishing ethnic, racial,
linguistic and cultural diversity.
And let me be very concrete, give you some sense of the
students with whom we work.
At DeAnza there are 3200 Latino,
mostly Mexican-American students.
There are 3,000 Chinese-Americans.
There are 1500 Filipino-Americans.
There are 1200 Indo-Americans.
There are 1200 African-Americans.
The census tells us there are 5600 white students of whom 534
are Iranian.
They come to us from across the region and around the world;
515 of them are veterans from America's current wars.
85% of our students test into precollegiate work and yet every
year thousands transfer to four-year institutions.
Our students are imaginative, they are smart,
they have enormous talent.
75% of them speak at least two languages.
So what do they want from this college and what does today's
topic have to do with their dreams and their hopes?
They want good and meaningful work.
Of course, they want the skills and the knowledge as required
for employment.
But they also want a lot more.
They want meaningful lives.
They want to learn how to navigate the public and private
bureaucracies that circumscribe so much of those lives.
They want to understand how power works.
Who has it.
What are its sources.
How do you confront it or affect it or build it.
They want the skills required to protect or defend the interests
of their communities.
And work across the boundaries that separate those communities.
They want to learn how to build a healthy and more equitable
region across the deep differences of race and class
and a gender and privilege that divides their world and ours.
They want and they need and they organize for, in short,
an education and democratic practice,
not just the abstractions of democratic institutions or what
we might call civics, but the rich and complex activity that
brings them alive.
They want to be principled, informed,
literate and generous citizens regardless of their legal
statute right now.
America's community colleges enroll about half of the
undergraduates in the country.
We do not need to be told to prepare students for the new
economy; we know that and they demand it.
The real question for us in America's community colleges is
can we prepare our students for the new politics.
There is no one way to do this to teach democracy
across the curriculum.
But this connection has already begun with a project we call the
democracy commitment.
It is a national coalition of America's community colleges
committed to the work of democracy for preparing our
students for their lives as citizens in their communities,
their states and the cities, and the country itself.
Preparing students to engage.
And many of the colleges with whom you are familiar are part
of the original signatory group: Miami Dade, Maricopa,
Georgia Perimeter, Mount Wachusett's,
and Delta and Lane and Macomb and Los Rios, and Lone Star.
Dozens and dozens more across the country.
We're in a partnership with the American Association of State
Colleges and Universities American Democracy Project
in its 242 universities in what is an uncommon alliance between
state colleges and universities and our colleges.
Half of the graduates of those institutions come from the
community colleges.
We best get to the work together.
And I am delighted by the partnership and deeply indebted
to George Mahaffey and Muriel Howard for what
AASCU has done for us.
The project has been supported and endorsed by the Association
of American Community Colleges, by the League for Innovation
and the Community Colleges and by AACNU.
In short, it is a coalition one year old celebrating with
the American Democracy Project's 10th Anniversary,
a new beginning in what has always been the community
colleges' fundamental mission which is not only or singularly
to prepare men and women for their work,
but to prepare them to take their places as leaders in
their communities and in their states and across the country.
We have always understood community colleges to have a
fundamental social democratic and equitable purpose.
What we need to do to help them we say in the democracy
commitment is to build new curricula,
build institutional space, make it not just a public declaration
but practical on-the-ground projects that allow them to
do their work.
So what it has meant is new courses in the history of
democracy at Allegheny College of Maryland.
Brand new projects in certificate programs in
community development social change leadership at places
like Minneapolis Technical and Community College and
DeAnza or East LA.
It means new institutes like the Institute for Humanity and
Democracy at Mount Wachusett's.
Actually, it's a misnomer to say that would be new since
its 17 years old.
But from them we learned what difference it made to have an
actual institutional home for this work.
Whether it's in courses or programs or work in the
community, what we have learned from our students and what we
carry into this new coalition is a central importance of
providing for the students the space for them to do their own
work, to do their own organizing,
for them to do democracy.
And I am enormously proud to say that as I am speaking at this
moment, the students at DeAnza are creating "Occupy for
Education," a tent city in the central quadrangle
of our school!
That's a shoutout to you guys at home!
Their timing actually was not to celebrate me not being there.
But that today was when the governor is releasing
the state budget.
They have dedicated themselves to a night a week for the next
nine weeks in preparation for a march in Sacramento with
students across the state.
They have our support because we in fact need them and together
we have to fight back against the cutbacks are destroying
their opportunities for education and development
and advancement not again just in the economy but in
their civic and community lives.
They need the space to organize.
They need the space to learn.
They need the space to teach.
What we're doing in America's community colleges with Eduado
Padron and other colleagues, is we are reaching across to
colleges who in their hearts have always had this mission
and pulling it up into the center.
So I am delighted for today to be the day to publicly announce
the commitment of this Coalition of National Community Colleges
to this common work.
Thank you.
Richard Giarasci: Now, Brian gives us the why.
My little illustration in eight minutes or less
is to tell you how.
To give you an example of one small college,
I wanted to correct Jim Leach.
We are not on Long Island.
I want to assure those listening online who are residents of
Staten Island; once again we have not been lost!
Put your passports away!
No tetanus shots.
You're back in New York City.
We are on Staten Island, a small burrow of simply 500,000
people, seemingly forgotten people.
And Wagner College, 14 years ago,
made a commitment to a comprehensive required four-year
undergraduate curriculum that links clusters of courses that
we call in our parlance in higher education learning
communities, that is, several courses connected together with
common cohorts of students taking the same courses together
with real world problems in terms of experiential
and civic learning.
So we have been at this for a while.
And my little example is to show that one small fragile private
college can make a fairly serious impact and that we're
always mindful that we're always revising our work in light of
our activity and our engagement.
But this commitment has been going on for some time.
We have tried to link the real world texts, or rather,
the real text of the class with real world problems in
a way that's powerful, expands learning of our
students and builds on their natural civic intuitions.
For most of those 14 years we were engaged in something
we would call civic engagement or service
learning kinds of courses.
They tend to be episodic.
In our case, they are structured through the freshman through the
senior year, but they tend to be episodic because they end at the
end of each semester.
They are connected to roots within the community where we
can find them and the like.
We found that wholly inadequate.
So we launched several years ago in March of 2009,
a community partnership with one community in Staten Island
where we put about 50% of our student engagement work that
is curricularly driven.
Again, all undergraduates go through this over the
four years.
That community is called Port Richmond.
It's about 30,000 people.
It's mostly Latino.
50% Latino.
Mostly undocumented Mexicans from Hawaka.
African-Americans, about 20 or 25%.
The rest Caucasians, mostly white working class,
many of them homeowners of modest homes.
It's a community of some tension.
And we began working with this community trying to,
asking ourselves when we do service learning work,
as we had in the past exclusively;
we do good things when it's done well.
Students learn more about their subjects,
they connect with people in the community they wouldn't
normally connect with.
There is learning going across from the community to the
student and vice-versa.
You build the foundations for civic culture.
For a sense of reciprocal relationships.
A sense of valuing one another.
A sense of we, not just me.
But it's limited, as I said, in terms of being episodic
and individualistic.
So we decided to build this partnership with Port Richmond
taking one community of need and trying to align the sustainable
assets of this institution with the ongoing challenges of the
community through a democratic partnership,
through a cooperative democratic partnership and we did that.
We have been working at it for a couple of years now.
In fact, we're trying to take it to another level.
So that partnership works this way: We have over 30 courses
that are aligned through all of the subjects in our curriculum
with specific agencies and organizations and efforts
in that community.
At the moment we're trying to say instead of the curriculum
looking for outlets in community work,
let's work closely with the community as we have done to
identify what the challenges are and
marry them back to the curriculum.
So there is a true partnership built around democratic
government structures shared together.
And we have done this.
We have identified health care issues around obesity
and diabetes which are profound in this community
as you can imagine.
And we have undergraduate and graduate nursing program,
an undergraduate and graduate physician assistant program.
Of course, a very strong premed program.
A good number of our students go on to medical school.
We have a strong business undergraduate and graduate
business programs, economic development is a huge issue
particularly small business development and microfinance
for new entrepreneurs that are trying to emerge in a mostly
immigrant community.
And I must say an African-American community
that is largely forgotten here in the mix of all of this.
And of course, we have a strong commitment through graduate and
undergraduate programs in teacher education which are
all built on the liberal arts and arts and sciences.
There is no majors in education; they are built on fundamental
strength in their disciplines that students are engaged in
and then get certified.
But those programs also are built around a notion of
everything from literacy to college readiness.
And if we think about the way we've used our science courses
and our humanities courses, our history courses,
performing arts courses in this community, again,
all built around taking the existing sustainable assets
of our curriculum and aligning them in a way
that's ongoing with projects.
Our goal now is we're in the middle of a strategic planning
process, David Maurice is here, Margret is working
closely with us.
And we're part of the Anchor Institutions Group which has
done such marvelous work across the country and
community partnerships.
And we're trying to identify then which, to make sure,
and verify with our community leaders and community residents
that in fact we are aligning around the very issues that
they find most powerful and most challenging.
Our goal here is to do three things: Our goal in this
curriculum and this effort really for 14 years and now
in this new model, the partnership model,
is really to, first of all, fundamentally increase learning
in the disciplines that students are taking courses in.
That's fundamental.
Without that, I fear that these kinds of efforts will wander;
they'll fluctuate with leadership changes, with semester changes.
They'll fluctuate with financial challenges that colleges and
universities face.
But fundamentally you have to commit to the fact that students
are learning the disciplines they're studying,
but that's only the necessary but not sufficient conditions.
The sufficient conditions are also that they increase their
civic learning.
What it means to be connected to publics which they will serve in
the professions in which they choose and they're being
prepared for both across the entire curriculum.
And finally, of course, the other sufficient condition is
that we're actually changing things in a community of need.
That there is an impact, a measurable set of criteria
annually and over a five-year period of an impact with this
community on those very issues that I mentioned in terms of
economic development, health care, and education.
And we're off to a fairly good start the last three years of
this but I'm not convinced that in and of itself just the effort
will make the difference.
We then brought in a number of other anchor institutions as we
call them in the Anchor Institution work of local banks,
foundations, corporations, elected officials across
the board for members of the conservative party,
the democratic party, the republican party,
and a whole host of NGOs in this community again to coalesce,
to be the convener, the facilitator,
to really make an impact with and for the community raising
the leadership level in the community and giving it a
greater chance to have control over its own destiny.
So that's an example of what one school is engaged in and doing.
I look in this audience and I can see many,
many other examples that from practitioners here that I'm
proud to say we're allied with.
But this is an example that within the crucible moment
you can have a four-year commitment across the board
to civic learning, deepening disciplinary learning as well
and of course having an impact on the community.
Thank you, very much.
Azar Nafisi: It is a great privilege and a pleasure,
great pleasure to be here today.
And I just wanted to tell you that you have to excuse me,
being a novice, I just became an American citizen in 2008.
And so, you know, I was thinking,
as a new citizen and as someone who has come from a country
where the government not only welcomes a meeting like this,
but in fact right after the 2009 protest by the Iranian people
against the rigged Presidential elections in Iran,
the first place they attacked were the
universities and the humanities.
They threatened to shut down all humanities departments because
they said that is where West insinuates itself and misleads
and, you know, sort of leads our youth astray.
So as we speak, people in that country are in jail.
They have been flogged.
They have been tortured.
Some have been killed.
Only because of the fact that they want to know.
And so the first thing that came to my mind as you talked,
Martha, about this President welcoming education as soon as
he came to power, I thought of another President,
the first President of this country who had dreamt of
having a national university in the capital,
and who had said that "there is nothing which can better deserve
our patronage than the promotion of science and literature.
Knowledge is in every country the surest basis
of public happiness."
And I felt that, well, you know, if you want to talk about the
world, and if you want to talk about the gift that America has
given the world, is bringing to it this sort of mix of freedom
and knowledge.
And I am making it, in fact, very, very pragmatic.
Again, I wanted to bring another short course,
I just wish that rather than talking I could bring just all
these quotes, read all of these quotes to you but another
person, Frederick Douglass, actually,
I wanted to tell you that, for example,
Frederick Douglass' speeches and writings are used by,
at least I know of one human rights organization,
The Bulaman Foundation for Democracy in Iran,
in order to educate young people inside the country.
And for those people who here today tell us that education
is not pragmatic.
That at a time when we're going through so much economic and
political difficulties, we don't need education,
I wanted to remind you of what he said when they were building
a school in Manassas, Virginia, which was at one point the seat
of slavery, in fact.
I am just reading a very short segment of it.
It is such a beautiful, beautiful speech.
You know, reading it you can almost hear the sort of the
tremors and the trembling of the excitement in his words
as he says this.
And the title of it is "Blessings of Liberty
and Education."
And he says, "to educate the hand as well as the brain.
To teach man to work as well as to think.
And to think as well as to work."
I mean, you know, what more can you say in response to anyone
who tries to separate the brain from the hand.
The work from knowledge.
And so I just thought that in these very short minutes,
most probably I spent four minutes already --
-- I bring to you two of my personal experiences to make
my point about what it means to be in the world today.
What it means to be part of the global community as an American.
Because for us to feel safe and secure and prosperous,
we need to help the world to become a safer and a more secure
and a more prosperous country.
And we need allies around the world who also believe with us
about you know in the same principles and the same values.
And I remember that a few weeks ago I was talking to
two of my students.
Actually they are in reading Lolita in Tehran,
they were my star students.
In that book I called them Manna [inaudible] -- and we
were talking to them here in Washington DC and we were
talking about our memories of Iran, and they were reminding
me of how at that time, when they were being flogged,
they were being virginity tests for walking down the
streets wearing the weapons of mass destruction which was
some sort of showing their hair, holding hands with someone they
loved, or listening to music, reading banned books.
For all of that they were being punished,
that at that time when they were disconnected to the world,
they connected to the world.
And especially they connected to this country through its
golden ambassadors.
In my classes we, couldn't show it at the universities,
but you know we would hand them forbidden videos of Marx
Brothers, and of Casablanca and of Woody Allen and we would be
reading Saul Bellow, and Edgar Allan Poe,
and Hawthorne and Toni Morrison and Ralph Ellison.
These were the subversive elements, and I'm saying this,
I'm reminding you of this, because both Frederick Douglass
and those who live in China or who live in Iran and who used
to live in the former Soviet Union and Eastern European
countries, those of them understand for them the
relationship between liberty and education, is not just words.
They have felt it with their flesh and blood,
that they understand it with their flesh and blood.
And for them, America was beloved,
not because of his military, not because of his weapon that now
it is anybody can acquire, and not even just for its
technology, but for its culture of democracy,
that that is what threatens tyrants around the world as well
as fascinates them.
We were talking before about how China is trying to have
liberal arts colleges.
They were coming to us to our liberal arts colleges over here
asking how they can have liberal arts colleges.
Of course, as soon as they think about it they realize
that without liberty you can't have a liberal arts college.
You were talking about Slovakia, how now our colleges are working
in Slovakia, how to educate people.
Even Saudi Arabia wants to tell us that they are going to move
the Louvre, you know, or move museums and universities into
those countries, because that is what matters to the world.
And so, what I wanted to say about these two students was
that another thing that they said that really broke my heart,
was that they said you remember how much you know my classes
would be flooded, people would come from all over,
Tehran and the suburbs to hear talk about Henry Fielding or
Saul Bellow or Emily Dickinson.
You know and they were saying that now that we here one of
them was writing on Elizabeth Bishop and
another on [inaudible] Herbert.
And they said we can't find who is interested in the English,
so again we are writing in Farsi.
We are again writing in Persian.
And that was what broke my heart.
And it brought me to my second experience that I wanted to talk
about for a moment.
I think it was the first or the second term when I returned here
and I was teaching at size and I was teaching a graduate
class on the relationship between civilizations.
And I very casually remarked something about the Tortry [phonetic],
and one blue-eyed blonde hair girl put up her hand and say
who is the Tortry.
Now, I'm not trying to use that woman, poor girl,
I've been using her all over the place, everywhere I go,
but I want to give her sort of credit.
I'm sure that in that class there were many who like her
did not know who the Tortry was.
But they did not have the curiosity and the courage to,
in fact, put their hands up and want to know.
But, that question made me think that in order for us to know the
world, to connect to the world, to view the world properly;
we need to first, know ourselves, connect to ourselves,
and understand ourselves.
And how could a younger population, without having
any knowledge of their own history, of their own culture,
of their own literature, how can they stand confident?
And how can they face the world with all its complexities,
and contradictions and difficulties that it offers us.
How can we feel any form of empathy for the woman
in Afghanistan who is killed, in fact,
because she wants to go to school.
Or the woman in Egypt, as we speak today, who is given a
virginity test because she protests or the woman in Darfur
who has been raped several times and her children have
been killed in front of her eyes.
How can we empathize with them if we cannot empathize
with ourselves?
How can we leave the world or be part of the world?
I mean, you know, market and jobs are related to life.
You make money.
You want to become successful because there should be passion.
And what these colleges, what my colleges here,
and almost everyone in this room does in fact bring to us
that curiosity about the world, the desire to know,
the desire to look at ourselves through the alternative eyes of
the other.
And through that, it brings us empathy.
And that is why we will then care about Afghanistan
or Slovakia, or any other part of the world.
And that is then why we will care about poverty in this
country, and why that people in this country,
who protest about the way they live,
they should not just simply go and get the job and take a bath.
So, I'm sorry, I should -- I'm going -- coming to the end of
what I wanted to say, and before coming to the end,
everyone brings statistics.
And I think that statistics are in fact important.
And I wanted to tell you about our relationship to the world
in terms of our colleges.
There are 305 million Americans.
Only 0.27% volunteered going abroad and only
0.13% volunteered with international organizations
within this country.
Twenty-two percent have passports.
Nine percent speak a second language.
Most of our universities have eliminated Spanish or French
or German alongside of theater and music and arts.
And I have been traveling across this country,
I was counting the other day at least 34 states.
I've been talking to high school students.
I've been speaking at community colleges,
at all sorts of different places.
And one of the things that again -- I keep thinking,
in this business your heart keeps being broken,
no matter where you live, because here then,
I -- at the end of almost each talk,
students come to me and say, you know,
I have been encouraged to go and learn Arabic, or Persian,
so that I can be hired by the State Department.
I don't want to learn Arabic or Persian because I have passion
to know, because I want to know about other countries,
because I want to know about those ancient places,
because I want to discover the world and contribute
to the world.
But in order to be hired for the job,
they think that anyone will be due a job,
will be doing good job if they did not go to learn Arabic and
Persian because they want to know.
No one will do a good job.
We can never have a good strategy about these other
countries if we don't know them, if we don't empathize with them.
If we genuinely are not involved with it.
And that is the problem, that many of the students in this
country are facing -- some of them come to me and they talk
as if they are doing a very daring and courageous job.
They said we have been told by our parents and we have not been
encouraged by the school to go into English literature and
philosophy, but we are going to, as if this is something really,
you know amazing that they are doing and it needs,
you know applause.
And it does need applause.
But what I want to end then is our commitment to these students
and, when we talk about democracy we are also talking
about democracy in different fields.
A university can be reduced to a corporation in the same manner
that the corporation cannot be reduced into a university.
That these different fields and structures and areas in
a democratic society would work autonomously
and interdependently.
And the place of the university is to encourage knowledge,
to encourage each student to have a bite of that apple.
And no innovation, no new technology will come if we
do not encourage our children to have that passion and that
curiosity, and that thirst for knowledge.
Don't think that people in Iran or in China or
in Zimbabwe or in Burma are not interested or do
not have the talent to be innovators,
what they lack is that freedom, that liberty,
that freedom of imagination that will make them work.
And that is what we need to encourage here.
And that is the gift that we can give the world and that is the
gift that the world will give to us,
reminding us of the best that we can offer.
So, what I wanted to sort of end with,
I kept thinking should I end with this or not?
My students also reminded me one of the last authors
we read was Sorbello.
And Sorbello was very worried about the future of this country
and he would say those survived the ordeal of the Holocaust how
will they survive the ordeal of freedom.
Because if you read Frederick Douglass and Elizabeth Cady
Stanton and Sojourner Truth, and Jefferson and Washington,
we know that freedom is an ordeal.
And he used to say that what threatens its country is its
sleeping consciousness and its atrophy of feeling.
And that is what our colleges are supposed
to be doing to fight our sleeping consciousness
and to fight that atrophy of feeling.
And that is why they need to be linked to the communities.
They need to involve the students and the community
in the kind of discussions that we are having today.
They need to support all those kith and kins and cousins that
they have within their organizations like national
endowment for humanities and the arts, like the museums.
Like the libraries, like the book stores.
They need to be organically related to them.
And I want to end by what I end every talk that I have is about
this vision that I talked about since 2008.
And I think that is an appropriate place
to talk about it.
I'd always imagined that we'd have hundreds of thousands of
people coming from different parts of the country and they
field from Jefferson Monument right through the mall and you
know the pride and joy and the jewel of this city which is the
Smithsonian that celebrates the best that this country and the
best that this world has offered,
the best involvement that this country has had in the world.
And from the Smithsonian go right up to the Capitol and
maybe sort of move towards the White House and not protest,
but to launch the way cattle is launching in national
conversation asking ourselves who is going to be allowed
imagination and thought.
Thank you.
Eduardo Ochoa: This sort of reminds me of the old blue slang you don't
miss your water until your world runs dry.
And as an immigrant from a country that it also has
experienced loss of freedom at times in its history,
I can certainly relate to that.
Well, thank you to all of the panelists for a very stimulating
set of presentations.
And I'm going to ask you now to step off the stage with our
great thanks as I introduce the second panel.
Thank you.
Our second panel discussion changing lives,
changing communities, will be led by David Mathews,
president and chief executive officer of the Kettering
Foundation, a nonprofit operating foundation routed
in the American tradition of cooperative research,
with the primary research question: What does it take
to make democracy work as it should?
I would ask the panelists now to come and take their seat.
Prior to working at the Kettering Foundation,
Mr. Mathews served as the secretary of health educational
welfare in the Ford Administration,
where he worked to help restore the public's
confidence in government.
We are delighted to have David lead this conversation.
Please welcome David Mathews and this wonderful group of
students and educators.
David Mathews: Seeing so many of you in this audience who have been at the
Kettering Foundation, I'm moved to thank you again for what
we've learned from you and from the members of the National
Issues Forum Institute.
I think our panelists would rather have the time for their
remarks as opposed to an introduction.
They are identified in the material.
I can testify that they are as presented.
And I'll only make four introductory comments.
First, the good news.
Higher education is reaching out.
Democracy is a common term now.
That wasn't true in 1976.
We had a conference on trends in higher education leading
intellectuals of the country, Margaret Mead.
The requisite number of college and university presidents and
luminaries from one DuPont to make it an auspicious occasion.
But nobody, nobody said anything about democracy.
We could not have had the conference you are having
now then even though that was the 20th anniversary
of American democracy.
I think what this change gives us is an opportunity to recall
that higher education was a movement before it was a set
of institutions to be managed and ordered.
What's worrisome is that what we mean by democracy
is not disclosed.
So I was at a conference on democracy a few years ago.
Higher education's responsibility.
The president of one of our leading institutions who was
a political scientist got up and said my institution serves
democracy simply by being, [inaudible], of the conversation.
Oh, I don't think we'll ever have any universally accepted
notion of what democracy means.
In fact, debate over what democracy is one of the
characteristics of a democracy.
But perhaps we owe it to one another,
and the cause we serve to share with one another what we do mean
by the word and by its implications.
And I hope the panel upcoming can contribute to that.
We are living in a time when there's a contest over the
meaning of democracy.
A few years ago it was rather subtle.
Now it's in the streets of Cairo and around the world.
It's in our own streets with people who like to drink tea
and occupy streets.
It's a serious matter.
And the key to it, the key to what we mean by democracy,
or will come to -- democracy will come to mean in the 21st
Century is control by the way we understand the role of citizens.
There's a real opportunity now to have democracy light.
Democracy without citizens.
You know the wonderful thing with polls is that they can make
the public present and absent at the same time.
You who know what the people are thinking,
but they can't do anything about it.
Democracy light.
So I've asked the panel to come in on two questions as they give
our presentation.
Tell us what problem caused you to do what you're doing.
What was the problem?
And was it a problem in democratic society?
And there are many of those and they are very serious,
crime, poverty.
Or was it a problem of democracy itself,
a problem behind the problem, something that kept or would
keep democracy from working as it should?
For example, we are visited by one today.
The loss of confidence in our major institutions.
Some more than others.
But very few even warrant a 50% confidence rate.
And those include institutions of higher education.
The lack of legitimacy is a problem not simply in a
democratic society; it's a problem of democracy itself.
And then when you tell us about what problem prompted you to do
what you are doing, could you tell us what role,
citizens are to play in democracy as you envision it,
what are they to do and how do they do it?
And what does what you do relate to what you think
they ought to do.
So now, without further ado, our panel which we will take in the
order in which they are seated.
Molly Jahn: Thank you very much.
It's a great privilege for me to be with all of you.
I'm Molly Jahn from the University of Wisconsin Madison.
And I am also a representative of the land grant university
system here, along with one of our students, Dantrell Cotton.
And so to the challenge problems in democracy.
The problems that brought me into the roles I've played in
my university life, in my civic life which includes
federal service, recent federal service at the U.S. Department
of Agriculture, those are problems that are
very familiar to the land grant tradition, agriculture,
food systems, food security, nutritional security,
diet related health, environmental issues
relating to natural resources sufficiency.
And new frontiers, climate change.
We saw so beautifully expressed in the first panel,
the linkages between these problems in democracy and
problems of democracy.
Of course the land grant tradition was literally
invented to manage this dialogue.
I've recently concluded services deemed of one
of America's premier land grant colleges of agriculture.
And never was this far from my mind because at the effort of
Wisconsin Madison, in front of the Dean's office is a plaque
entitled agrarian democracy.
Those who walk up to the steps of the Dean's office
walk by that plaque.
And in fact we are a campus as our sister campuses are deeply
committed to that legacy.
And to the future of those obligations we hold to this
nation and to the world.
So the problems of democracy that are paramount for me in
the various roles I play are familiar challenges.
They are the challenges of empowerment, of democrats,
that is all of us, all citizens.
We have a tradition of what you might call very energized,
political dialogue in the State of Wisconsin.
I am very proud to say that I serve a provost and chancellor,
a university system president.
And sister campuses across our University of Wisconsin network,
that takes that commitment very seriously and has for a very
long time, under a concept we are extremely proud of called
the Wisconsin Idea.
Nearly a century old or older depending on who you listen to,
this is an explicit commitment, that the boundaries of our
institution are the boundaries of the state,
that was back when you rode horses.
We understand that as -- sister land grant college
and universities to now be a global commitment of the most
profound nature.
And it is a commitment to partnership.
And so, citizens, and the role citizens play are our
full partners and I am as an individual and as
a representative of my institution and the legacy
of the land grant system, I am a partner.
I am a partner with our students, Dantrell Cotton.
And his future, his colleagues' future.
I am a partner of a very special institution,
that is part of how Dantrell came to be sitting next to me.
The Chicago High School for agricultural sciences,
a literally unique high school on the Southside of Chicago,
a public high school that exemplifies the very values
that you are here to advocate for.
That is meaningful, consequential work
for the likes of Dantrell and his colleagues.
We have two students from that high school here, the principal,
vice-principal and a master ed teacher all here to learn your
language of citizenship and democracy and to share with
you our commitment.
We think we are from the AG world,
but we hold a legacy that is critically important to
the work you're doing.
I am a partner to the other land grant institutions,
the 1890 land grant system.
The 1994 land grant system.
My partners are our tribes.
They are our urban institutions.
They are our global partners.
I hold an adjunct professorship at Seoul National University.
Next week I'll be in Mexico City.
Later this spring, in Egypt and Israel talking about food
security, climate change, nutritional security,
prosperity, security.
An economic future that is defensible in light of a word
we spend a lot of time thinking about, which is sustainability.
I'm a partner.
We are keepers of the legacy established by President Lincoln
in whose likeness sits on top Bascom Hill in Madison,
Wisconsin looking from our administrative building to
our capitol.
The politics, the policies, the specific personal commitments we
hold to not only our medium which is familiar,
but to these ideals, these commitments for the last
150 years under the vision of the moral act and for
the next 150 years.
So, don't forget, please, about the land grant university system
and its special obligation to the topics of interest
to us here today.
Thank you very much for the invitation to be with you.
And it my great honor and pleasure to hand the microphone
to the 2010 valedictorian of Chicago High school for AG
sciences -- I got to be his commencement speaker --
Dantrell Cotton.
Dantrell Cotton: Thank you, Dr. Jahn.
And I'm elated to be here in front of all of you representing
the college students, successful college student,
who is exemplified in the means of democracy.
Now the title of today is for democracy's future.
And earlier we mentioned that we are democracy.
So it's really for my future and others like me,
college students, the students that we're here talking about
for all those here, for the panelists.
As she mentioned I'm a recent graduate from an agricultural
high school in the Southside of Chicago,
Chicago High School for agricultural sciences.
And one thing that we often talk about is motto sustainability.
But I'm going to tweak the definition that I use and apply
it to democracy.
And I feel like sustainability is very important in sustaining
what we envision for successful democracy.
So in my definition of it it's living together in your material
comfort all of the things that we have,
the things that we work hard for, what we save our money for,
what we get our education for.
Peacefully with each other, how do we coexist with each other,
work with whether it's on different political fronts,
different religious fronts, different ethnic groups.
How do we live in that material comfort,
peacefully with either other within the means of democracy?
And that's my view of sustainability and some of the
things that I'm trying to work -- working on at the University
of Wisconsin Madison alongside with Dr. John.
But one of the problems that I was -- that I wrote that I find
that's -- with democracy is I feel that we misdiagnose causes
and effect.
And one big thing that I'm talking about is in our
educational system, as most in panel one was talking about.
I feel that often there is -- there's talks and there's
countless meetings on low test scores,
apathy for my generation, you know, the millennial,
generation Y, for participation and their civic duty.
And that's often viewed as the cause.
But -- but if you really think about it,
it's most of the things that people like Dr. John was talking
about, it's that return to civics,
why aren't we teaching that in our classrooms, why -- you know,
there's -- just a month ago and before I was leaving for this
semester, we had like a pop quiz in one of my classes,
in one of our dialogue classes, and there's so many things that
those who want to be citizens in the United States now have --
like the tests that they have to take that most of
us did not know.
There's things like who wrote the national anthem.
And small things like that that make up what we call essentially
or democracy that we didn't know, so.
And many things, I think the problem is that,
especially for my generation is that we take things for granted,
and we think that just because we're born here,
we don't have to know the basics.
And the return to the basics is how we're going to solve many of
the problems in the future.
And the second thing is a return and also an absence in many
regards in our educational system of an empowerment
principle, and also known as an inclusion principle.
How do we empower students like myself by valuing our ideas,
how do you make people say that we're listening to your ideas,
we know that you're the future, so how do we take your ideas
into account.
And then second -- second part of the empowerment is first you
empower, then you involve.
You try to put some of those into play by community service,
letting them be more active in their school settings or in the
college, how do you have more partnerships with the campus
and community.
And third is participation.
Using students to empower each other.
I was sharing a story yesterday that oftentimes we're asked who
our role models are, and a lot of people say like the famous
names, like Oprah or some movie star.
And I -- as great as that is, I always say it's the person
sitting next by me, because you -- you see their struggle,
you see how they're defining how they're overcoming many of their
challenges and their obstacles.
And in turn, that's part of democracy in itself also,
it's not just -- democracy isn't just the good things that come
out of everything that we do, it's those setbacks.
If you think about it, our country was founded on setback
after setback after setback, which is why people left and
came here.
So many of those problems there is what I find can be a problem
in why there's a halt in democracy,
and that's why I myself personally take responsibility
trying to educate my peers on ways that we
can be more informed.
And the first step is getting an education.
And education isn't just through book knowledge;
it's getting an education outside the classroom.
In my high school experience, we -- I do a lot of agricultural
work, so it's how do you get -- just like I'm getting connected
to the soil, how do we get other students connected to those
roots, how do we get them back into the community.
One thing that I find is you find a lot of students,
they leave their communities to go to a college or to go to a
higher level of education, yet they never return.
And how do you empower that next generation to make a difference
if they don't see any successful models coming back to say, hey,
look at me, I'm a success story.
So that's some of the things that I find can be problematic
when questioning where the future of democracy is going.
And also we touched upon it earlier in panel one,
and I thank you guys so much, diversity is a big issue,
whether it's diversity ethnically,
but diversity of mindsets is important.
Ideas, how do we get students I think is very, very important,
some of the success that I see at the university is the classes
where students get to have an open dialogue about many issues,
whether it's religious or the issues on politics, cultural,
bringing all those, infusing those together so that they can
talk and discuss.
And sometimes arguing isn't the worst thing,
I mean we see it all -- we're in Washington,
D.C., so all I -- most of what I learn in my civic classes is
that you're going to have set -- arguments and setbacks after
setbacks, but as I wrote in one of my pieces for democracy you,
you have to put those fear aside,
your fear of not saying what everyone wants to hear,
but you have to put your ideas on the table in hopes that
someone will hear.
And sometimes for me, democracy isn't always having a consensus,
it's just having that one listening ear sometimes
and someone saying, you're going somewhere with that.
And that's part of that empowerment process that
I was talking about earlier.
And one thing -- another thing is in the crucible,
this moments highlight, they say that 36% of college students
agree that faculty publicly advocate for the need for
civic participation.
That's a low number.
And one reason that I notice just as a college student now
is that how am I supposed to be empowered if we don't see
empowerment from those who are educating us,
because just like babies, you mirror what you see,
you mirror what you -- so if I have an educator who is just
teaching, what am I learning for -- am I just learning to reach
the state bar or am I trying to reach a certain statistic,
or am I learning as mentioned earlier so I can be passionate
about it.
Do I want to learn so I can actually make a difference
in my community?
So that's one thing that -- that I feel are some problems
in democracy and those are some things that I'm trying
to change now.
So thank you.
Nikki Cooley: My name is Nikki Cooley; I'm from the Diné Nation,
better known as the Navajo Nation.
I come from 17 million acres of land where 80% of the people do
not have electricity or running water.
Just in 2011, my parents got electricity.
No running water yet, we still have to hall
it 50 miles round trip.
I come from that type of environment where that
was my space.
And then I went to a boarding school, not the swanky kind,
a military-style run boarding school where I did not like
science, I did not like math.
I went to high school at Flag High, Flagstaff,
Arizona, and I stayed in a dorm for students,
Native American students.
I still did not like math or science.
I just -- it was boring, I didn't get it,
tutors tried to help me uneffectively.
So how did I end up with a master's degree in forestry?
And I work with climate scientists and I travel
all over working -- working with scientists of all ages.
And how did that happen?
And I asked myself that question,
and I realized that I had opportunities that were relevant
to my background, that used my background as a Navajo
woman whose first language is Navajo, who thinks in Navajo,
and is concerned about issues on the Navajo reservation and other
native communities, because that is who I am first and foremost.
And I went through a couple of programs that I -- where I got
to work with the Cherokee people in North Carolina working on
fire science, and I combined qualitative and quantitative
methods it.
And that was my light bulb moment;
I said now I understand why I need to know math and science.
That is how I make it relevant.
And so that is how I get to where I am now.
And there -- and I work with -- I work on a climate science
project where we're working on a curriculum that where we're
incorporating relevant models of climate change
on the Colorado plateau.
I don't know if that's been done before.
And if I had that when I was in high school,
I think I might have been more inclined to retain that
information or to be interested or to stay awake even in class.
So that is one -- that is where I come from.
To answer the first question.
And that leads to the question of lack of -- the lack of
empowerment, the lack of relevant opportunities
in the science, technology, engineering,
and mathematical fields, stem education.
So that -- that is what I would say that it is so important for
you educators, and since we're at the White House,
to the government, to the politicians that relevant
cultural educational opportunities are so important.
I come from a state that has -- that made learning
Spanish illegal.
English-only state.
That is not -- there are multiple ways of learning,
multiple ways of knowing.
So I encourage all of educators, politicians
and the U.S. Department of Education, since you guys are
here, that there are multiple ways of knowing and learning.
Please keep that in mind when it comes to democracy in the
universities and college.
So thank you very much.
Romand Coles: Hi, I'm Rom Coles and I'm a professor at NAU,
Northern Arizona State University,
and I direct the program for community culture and
the environment.
In terms of the problem that has led me down the road,
pathway that I'm on, I think it -- I would describe it as a
failure of imagination and a failure of involvement,
democratic involvement, democratic agency,
that I discovered -- I was at Duke University,
I taught political theory for 20 years before coming to Northern
Arizona University, and though everybody who gets into Duke has
top scores and grades, what was a real struggle teaching,
there was a failure of imagination,
especially when thinking about political theory where you're
really trying to get people to expand their sense of
possibility, think carefully beyond the boxes that they
inherit unthinkingly.
And so, you know, that's always a challenge,
it's especially a challenge with people who are straight
A students but still can't really think.
And so there was that problem to coexisted with a problem that
within a quarter of a mile of Duke University on several
sites, there were very poor communities of people who lived
with none of the privileges that most of the students at Duke
had, and there was very, very little crossing of
these boundaries.
In fact, there were people who didn't even know that a third
of a mile away there was a community that had some serious
problems around which relationships might form.
So -- and then there was a problem among colleagues who
are similarly unimaginative I think because we were cut off
in an Ivy League tower.
Increasingly I became involved in a variety of inter-faith
efforts and different community efforts,
and I found that my own imagination, my imagination,
my thinking was -- was electrified in those settings,
revivified in those settings, more than when I went to the
American Political Science Association annual meeting,
believe it or not.
So -- so I increasingly began to change my pedagogy at Duke
and teach more engaged kinds of courses that really cultivated
civic agency, cultivated long-term relationships with
different community groups and so forth.
And what I found is that students became alive in
multiple ways in that setting, they began to read Tocqueville,
Plato, Augustine, Dewey very differently,
and in much more creative ways.
So they began to, on their own, generate a whole variety of
civic relationships and projects and sustained them.
And so I became convinced that the place where I could think
the best and help others and be involved, engaged,
develop civic agency and public work would be at an institution
like Northern Arizona University which really has a deep identity
around its civic mission, around being a steward of its place.
So I made that move a few years ago.
What we've been doing to -- I suppose to move to the second
question, what we've been working on in the past few
years, although this work goes back long before my arriving
there, we've been working on -- what I would call an ecological
approach to cultivating the democratic mission,
the democratic identity of the university.
By ecological approach I don't mean actually so much things
that we work on, like climate change, food systems,
energy and so forth.
By ecological approach, I mean that we're approaching the
question of institutional change for -- to revitalize
the democratic mission by looking at the campus as an
ecology, an ecology that involves curricular pieces,
learning environment pieces, faculty working groups,
a whole set of new sites and modes of learning with
inter-faith groups, with multiple Native American
reservations across Northern Arizona with a whole slew of
elementary, middle and high schools, and so on and so forth,
that these are sites of learning.
So that -- so what we're doing is de-centering our sense of
where learning happens, with whom it happens, how it happens,
and developing this ecology.
We're also really working on developing a whole set
of public spaces.
For example --
Eduardo Ochoa: Excuse me, Professor Coles, I'm sorry,
I have the unpleasant task of having to call time.
Romand Coles: More on this later.
Eduardo Ochoa: We're running way behind.
So I'm going to ask the remaining panelists to
take two minutes for their piece.
Okay, thank you.
Paul Markham: Okay. Okay. So, Paul Markham, I'm at Western
Kentucky University, Institute for Citizenship
and Social Responsibility.
Two minutes.
So we believe just enough of this stuff to be dangerous,
right, in Kentucky.
So if you haven't noticed, Kentucky is kind of a
conservative place, right?
And so when we think about the kinds of problems we have,
you know, in this case, of democracy, taking, you know,
our queues from folks like Harry Boyte,
Center of Democracy and Citizenship,
and myself as an educator, I'm very passionate about not only
educating university students, but also connecting university
students to secondary to primary,
which is a key goal of our state.
And we've done lots and lots of work on the topic of the
achievement gap.
Hear it all the time, the achievement gap.
But in terms of what we most deeply want to address,
it's much like what you've already heard over and over
again, is to address the empowerment gap.
I will just say that through our public achievement program is
what we do, and it is about allowing young people to
identify issues that is important to them,
issues that are important to them, they care very much about.
And we don't let them then say, I care about this, it's broken;
now you fix it.
We won't let them do that, because we'll say, no, you can,
you can do it, we will help you do it, we will coach,
we stand beside you and we'll coach you through the process
of addressing it.
And we have here Bianca Brown who is one of our senior coaches
who does an excellent job, and just going to hands the
mic over to her and let her tell her -- tell you a little
bit about what she does.
Bianca Brown: Thank you, Dr. Markham.
Two minutes.
Okay, so I'm going to do it rapid fire.
What can a citizen do or what is our citizen task?
I think it's to share the knowledge that you have and
empower the unempowered.
That sounds really like poetic, but I guess my point is that
it's not enough to just hang an American flag in front of your
home and call yourself a citizen, right?
In our public achievement groups,
we asked our students pretty much really early on in the
sessions what is citizenship, what's enough.
And they say voting, doing stuff, you know, doing stuff,
voting, but they get the idea it's activity.
They get that point, they might not know that word yet,
but they know that it's an action.
It's not just saying I'm an American.
I mean, that's a wonderful thing,
it's a great privilege of ours to be able to say that,
but what does it mean in the act of doing?
It's the act of doing things.
And achieving -- or obtaining knowledge and going to higher
education is a wonderful thing that we're able to have people
like, you know, done tell and Nick key and other students,
especially if you come from a place where it's really
difficult for someone in that socioeconomic status to achieve
that higher education, but what do you do when you get there?
It's really awesome to have like a 4.0 and graduate and all and
to go out into the workforce and say, okay,
give me a CEO position, but is that engagement,
is that fulfilling?
It might be to some people.
Personally I found more purpose in my life when I was directed
by Dr. Markham and I took -- he asked me earlier what was
it that changed for you, what clicked, and I said,
it was taking the first class with you, you know,
I want to be like you when I grow up.
You know, he's been a real inspiration to me,
I needed that support to show me you have a voice that matters,
you can be engaged in things that are important to you.
He might not always like what I ever to say,
but I know through knowing him that what I have to say at least
needs to be said.
So empowering unempowered.
Eduardo Ochoa: Thank you very much all of you for your
very stimulating presentations.
I'm going to ask you now to step down.
And I'd like to introduce --
Yeah, give them another hand.
I'd like to introduce next Harry Boyte who is founder
and director of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship at
Augsburg College and of the American Commonwealth
Partnership which is being announced here today.
Harry has been instrumental in civic work over many decades and
in helping to plan this event.
He's going to introduce a video that will help frame
the discussion for the break-out sessions.
Please offer a warm welcome to Harry Boyte.
Harry Boyte: I think we may have problems with time that are going to --
Speaker: Skip the video.
Harry Boyte: Skip the video, this is a shame.
I don't know if it's going to be archived, it's a great video.
Speaker: Yes, it will be archived.
Harry Boyte: Will it be archived?
Speaker: Sure.
Harry Boyte: Yeah, we worked on this video.
Okay. So I want to say how pleased I am to be here.
This is a historic day.
The American Commonwealth Partnership is seven months old,
it's a broad diverse coalition of colleges, universities,
schools, civic groups, in partnership with the Department
of Education and the Office of Public Engagement,
we've helped put together this event.
I want to thank Nancy Cantor and Brian Murphy who are coaches of
our president's group.
Paul Pribbenow who has offered to host the American
Commonwealth Partnership at Augsburg College going forward
for the next two or three years.
George Mehaffy and all the other partners.
George is vice president of the state colleges and universities,
and a great -- a great partner in really developing a deeper
sense of the higher education civic mission.
So let me just make a couple of remarks about what the American
Commonwealth Partnership does.
This is the 150th anniversary of the moral act that's been
alluded to several types.
The moral act created land grants in 1862 at a time of
crisis in the nation, and as they developed,
they became understood in terms of their identity as
democracy colleges.
University of Minnesota in the 1930's saw itself,
and students and faculty saw themselves as in a
democracy college.
The American Commonwealth Partnership in another time of
crisis and drift and division and anxiety about the future
sees our role as multiplying democracy colleges for the
21st century across the entire landscape of education.
Not only land grant public universities,
but liberal arts schools, community colleges,
research universities, state colleges and universities,
community colleges.
We see ourselves in a sense as responding to the call of the
nation, just as the land grants the first time responded to the
call of the nation, responding to the crisis of the nation.
There is a deep sense in America that we need to move from a "me"
culture to a much more "we" culture,
that we need to reinvent 21st century citizenship,
and that that's a question of identity,
not marginal after-hours activity.
And that is the mission of the American Commonwealth
Partnership to take this forward in many forms.
You'll read in the packet of commitments a lot of
initiatives, I'm not going to go over them.
I want to note five different ways we see 21st century
democracy a colleges developing.
First they are colleges that welcome and intentionally
develop full participation and diversity.
They see the need for many different kinds of knowledge and
people to interact at the very core of what it means to be an
institution of education.
Secondly, they are built around the notion of what we call civic
agency, or put differently, pedagogys of empowerment.
And the last panel, you heard some examples of that,
they are very powerful stories, I hope we'll be able to get some
of the videos streamed, because they are -- as those who have
seen it know, they are powerful moving stories of empowerment
tied to learning.
We heard several stories; they are just the tip of
the iceberg here.
Thirdly, we believe that democracy colleges for
the 21st century need to be grounded in local ecologies,
which don't make higher education on top,
but as part of the mix with many different institutions
and groups and families and networks working together.
Fourthly, we need colleges and universities which are
accountable, the idea of developing impact assessment,
the American democracy project is birthing a project to look
at the impact of colleges on the communities in which
they are located.
That's a whole different kind of ranking system.
And finally, we need higher education institutions which
are dedicated deeply to public scholarship,
to knowledge about the world, for the world and with the
world, that involves a conception of science itself
which is in conversation with other kinds of knowledge.
We heard stories from the [inaudible] school and from Northern Arizona
about what it means to teach science in an empowering way,
not as a hectoring institutional pedagogy,
but is an empowering pedagogy.
We are working also on the very foundations of science itself as
appropriately as usefully in dialogue with other kinds of
knowledge, a narrative, a cultural,
a meaning making understanding of the human person.
Science itself is political in its very constitution.
So we're going forward.
We don't know exactly the shape of democracy colleges of the
21st century.
We know we need them if we are to see a rebirth of citizenship,
if higher education is to respond to the call
of the nation.
And I would say this is ultimately about
what Martin Luther King who shaped me as a young man,
I worked STLC when I was a college student,
Dr. King used to -- in a letter from a Birmingham jail
articulated a vision of a "me first" culture when he said we
are bound together in the single garment of destiny,
tied in an inescapable network of mutuality.
And that's what we need to re-knit together through our
work and our learning and our interactions with the world,
that is the call and the challenge and the promise of
education in the 21st century.
Eduardo Ochoa: Thank you, Harry, for those stirring words.
I'm going to introduce now Kyle Lierman who from the Office of
Public Engagement who has some instructions for you on how to
get to the break-out sessions.
Speaker: Do you want to do the video?
Kyle Lierman: Do the video? Okay.
Eduardo Ochoa: All right.
Speaker: And it will be archived.
Martha Kanter: Good afternoon.
One of the most important purposes of educating our
nation's youth and adults is to preserve and strengthen
our democracy.
Unfortunately civic learning opportunities are often
disconnected from the core academic mission of too many
of our colleges, universities and schools.
Everyone who has come together at the White House this
afternoon shares a common vision that students need
to learn about and immerse themselves in civic learning
and engagement opportunities.
In doing so, democracy's future will be assured now and for
generations to come.
But the task before us to make this happen throughout our
education system is great.
Going forward, let's each of us make it a top priority to ensure
commitments from institutions, schools, companies,
foundations and organizations throughout our communities,
to identify the most promising methods and research to promote
civic learning and democratic engagement
in K-12 and higher education.
We must take action to deepen our nation's civic identity
through education, and find ways to advance civic learning across
the education spectrum.
As a community, we must expand our understanding of the
importance of democratic engagement through new public
scholarship and research, and use evidence-based
decision-making to drive our reforms.
And we must build and strengthen the connections between our
campuses and our communities to extend civic learning into every
aspect of our students' lives.
Today's meeting is a continuation of decades-long
discussions with a call to action for all of us to do more,
to harness our collective intelligence and energy
for democracy's future.
And I'm excited to join you in this work.
Now let me introduce my calendar leagues who have worked
tirelessly to bring us together who are now ready to enrich our
national conversation.
Harry Boyte: If we as Americans are to regain collective control
obvious our future, we need to reinvent citizenship.
Higher education has crucial roles to play,
educating citizens, helping to build flourishing communities.
This year is the 150th anniversary of the moral
act which created land grant colleges once known
as democracy colleges.
The American Commonwealth Partnership is a new coalition
promoting the moral act civic mission throughout
all of education.
We call for a shift from scattered civic activity
to strong civic identity in families, schools, professions,
colleges and universities, and we're organizing a national
conversation on how to make this happen.
Our question, how to work as agents of democracy on campuses
and in communities to reinvent citizenship.
Caryn McTighe Musil: Today, the civic learning and democratic engagement network
is releasing its national report, a crucible moment,
college learning and democracy's future.
It calls on higher education to make civic learning expected of
every student rather than optional only for some.
The association of American colleges and universities and
its network partners are working to advance education that
produces construct TV civic problem solvers able to navigate
differences to reach shared goals.
Such knowledge enhances learning, workplace skills,
college persistence and citizenship.
But there is a serious civic learning gap,
it can be closed if a civic ethos governs campus life,
civic inquiring infused across the curriculum and civic action
becomes life-long practice.
Our question is how can campuses make civic learning pervasive,
not peripheral, practical, not abstract,
and found in all subjects of study.
Ashley Finley: Over the last decade, we've seen a proliferation of engaged
learning practices, community partnerships and public
scholarship, but in a time of budget constraints,
colleges and universities now need to make the case that civic
engagement matters to students, to the communities and to the
wider democracy.
To make what case, we need to ask what are the policies,
programs and practices that are most likely to increase student
civic skills, the same skills that employers say they want,
and how can we increase the ability for students to
demonstrate their civic knowledge and engagement.
We need to ask how can we go deeper with the evidence we
already have to understand the full extent of student civic
capacities and competencies.
And finally, we need to ask how can we ensure that these
outcomes are not reserved for the most privileged students
who can seek out particular experiences,
but rather are expected and available to all students
regardless of institutional type, sector or size.
Our question is how can higher education become more
intentional about whether and how civic learning and
democratic engagement make a difference to students' lives,
the vitality of our communities and the
success of our institutions.
Muriel Howard: In 2002, the American association of state colleges
and universities created the concept that our 400 colleges
and universities are stewards of place.
That concept expresses the understanding that colleges and
universities have contributions to make to the health and
vitality of communities where they are located.
And, at the same time, communities have talents
and knowledge resources which can greatly enrich student
learning and engagement.
In 2012 we will be developing new ways for our campuses and
communities to work together to strengthen our students' civic
learning, and at the same time strengthen our democracy.
Our question going forward for the future is how can campuses
join with communities to assess the civic health of their
regions, and how can campuses and communities create
initiatives to improve civic health and economic vitality
while providing more powerful civic learning experiences for
our students.
Timothy Eatman: Tackling the nation's complex challenges in an interconnected
global environment requires that creative minds come together
from schools, businesses, nonprofits,
neighborhoods and government as well as higher education.
This means valuing knowledge produced not only for
specialized academic audiences, but also knowledge making which
addressing pressing public problems.
It also means moving beyond the expert knows best syndrome,
developing instead deep collaborative partnerships
that value different kinds of knowledge.
Imagining America, artists and scholars in public life
headquartered at Syracuse University promote scholarship
through humanities, arts and design across the country.
Our question, how can colleges and universities create the
incentives and structures of support necessary to expands
public scholarship into a pervasive ethos and practice,
not simply scattered activities.
Speaker: So we have five break-out sessions,
so just a couple of logistical instructions.
Martha Kanter: (audio interruption) Good afternoon.
Speaker: Everybody is --
Martha Kanter: (audio interruption) One of the most important
purposes in educating our nation --
Speaker: So you guys all have the brake break-out room number that you
are -- it's on the back of your name tag,
it says the break-out group that you're with.
Groups 1 and 5 are going to be staying
here in Southport auditorium.
Group 1 is deepen civic identity values and vision.
Group 5 is provide evidence, civic learning
and college success.
So you guys, 1 and 5, will be staying here.
Group 2, expand public scholarship and research
is going to be heading to room 228, so you guys are going to
be heading out that way, taking a right and either taking the
elevator or taking the stairs up to the second floor.
Group 3 is in room 226, and that's build and strengthen
community and campus connections, same as 228,
head out that room -- that side over there and go to your right
up the stairs or up the elevator.
And group 4 is 428, advance civic learning and engagement
in democracy across school and college,
that is -- you probably want to take the elevator,
out that way to the right, grab one of the two elevators
that way and head up to the fourth floor.
So group 4 in 428.
It's all up here.
And then, everybody just make sure you guys are back here by
5:00 o'clock, because that's when the end of the session
is going to begin.
Thank you.