Higher Education: Exporting Middle-Class Dreams

How can one distinguish the cultural differences, in general, between community colleges and universities? Certainly one could consider faculty credentials, administrative staff preparation, academics, service focus, student “learning readiness,” institutional missions, vocational training—the obvious and usual. Community colleges do an ample job of preparing students for the next steps in their lives. They provide a valuable entry point for a richer participation in American society—and can potentially accelerate a student’s quality of life, both on the job and in the soul.  However, we believe there is a fundamental divergence in the culture of the community college that has to do with a social or class distinction criterion—we believe that community colleges have aspirations to prepare their students for entry into the middle class, while universities have aspired to pull their students out of the middle class.

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