TAS Seminars

Stan KatzCollege, Education and Democracy

February 21, 2013

Stanley N. Katz, Ph.D.
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs

9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.


The question I would like to ask with you is the one framed by John Dewey a century ago – what is the relationship between education and democracy?  We will read a little Dewey to contextualize that question, but the text for the morning will be the recent book by Andrew Delbanco, College:  What It was, is, and should be.  Delbanco asks us to think historically about the collegiate origins of post-secondary education, and to inquire whether the gradual transformation of the college into an engine for research has not done serious damage to the democratic and character-building origins of the American university?  He is, as we should be, concerned with the elitist orientation of selective colleges and universities, and asks whether these institutions have not in some important sense become anti-democratic.  What can be done to ensure genuinely open, meritocratic access to colleges and universities?  What role do secondary schools and their supporting mechanisms (the AP program, for instance, and other testing regimes such as SAT and ACT) play in this process?  Is "college for all” really the national policy that democracy requires?  If so, how can we achieve it?


Stan Katz, Ph. D. teaches courses on democracy, civil society and nonprofit organizations at the Woodrow Wilson School. He studies the United States and human rights and higher education policy, and he writes regularly for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Katz works on projects in Cuba and in the Persian Gulf. He directs the Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies at WWS and is the president emeritus of the American Council of Learned Societies.



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