My Back Pages
Meeting Public Demands for Higher Education (1956)
As we consider the issues of college, careers, and citizenship, and the life choices students make, it's worth looking back a little more than 50 years ago to see what educators writing in Educational Leadership (EL) considered key questions on this topic.
In November 1956, EL published an issue on the theme of "Meeting Public Demands for Higher Education" at a time when college enrollment was dramatically swelling. In the article "Expanding to Meet Needs in Higher Education" (PDF) by Francis Keppel, then dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, he argues that higher education is becoming fashionable as well as necessary, and cautions against this sensibility driving the way higher education expands.
Read the article: Expanding to Meet Needs in Higher Education (PDF)
Keppel devotes a large portion of the article to suggesting that we need to make the evolving network of two-year community colleges fashionable enough to attract students, reasoning that these schools play an important role in the sensible growth of higher education, but may be unfairly shunned by some students. It's striking to consider the issue of "fashion" in light of recent discussions in politics about whether all students should be encouraged to seek higher education—and to see how some attitudes haven't changed much in the intervening years.
In "My Back Pages," we look at important issues through the historical lens of the Educational Leadership archives. ASCD members can access EL issues from 1943 to the present by signing in.
David Snyder is a reference librarian in ASCD's Information Resource Center.
ASCD Express, Vol. 7, No. 14. Copyright 2012 by ASCD. All rights reserved. Visit www.ascd.org/ascdexpress.