Gateway to Opportunity: A History of the Community College in the United States

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“A strength of this book is Beach’s focus on the community college as an evolving social institution, a perspective not common in previous literature. Another strength is Beach’s focus on the dilemmas faced by community colleges as presented from the perspectives of faculty, administrators, state officials, local communities, and students.”?NACADA Journal
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Beach's focus on the community college as an evolving social institution offers a perspective not found in earlier literature... For readers interested in the history of the community college as a social institution, this book offers a concise treatment of its subject with numerous references to many important articles and texts that have reported on change and practice at the community college. Approaching the community college as a social institution offers a perspective that should be used more often to better understand the development, changes, and dilemmas in the history of this uniquely American experiment in post-secondary education."

"The question of whether or not [community colleges] expand access by democratizing higher education or constrain access by diverting students away from higher-prestige institutions is one that is continually and hotly debated... J.M. Beach critically and comprehensively reexamines this well-worn territory in an effort to connect the origins of community colleges with the institutions that they have become in today's higher education milieu... Beach elucidates provocative questions that educators, colleges, and policy makers must consider."

"A strength of this book is Beach’s focus on the community college as an evolving social institution, a perspective not common in previous literature. Another strength is Beach’s focus on the dilemmas faced by community colleges as presented from the perspectives of faculty, administrators, state officials, local communities, and students."

"Although the book seems primarily intended for policymakers and administators, Gateway to Opportunity nevertheless makes two important contributions to the history of the community college. First, Beach extends The Diverted Dream into the more recent past. The book discusses tuition increases, financial exigencies, employer contract training programs, and provides a particularly thorough treatment of the movement for institutional accountability... Second, Beach emphasizes racial segregation to a greater exten than Brint and Karabel."

"Focuses on issues of access and effectiveness in a critical evaluation of community colleges; including a cautionary case study of California"

“This book not only raises important questions about the educational practices and effectiveness of community colleges historically, it also provides detailed analyses and case studies that should inform policy debates and decision-making in the twenty-first century. Educators, researchers, administrators, and government officials concerned about the future of community colleges, and U.S. higher education in general, cannot afford to ignore J. M. Beach’s findings and conclusions”

“Josh Beach expertly uses the lens of history to provide a penetrating and insightful account, examining the challenges facing community colleges. Some will find this an uncomfortable read, but all will find it thought provoking. Its detailed history and analysis of community colleges is not used to reinforce their current practices, but opens up the ‘long conversation’ and demands in us a reconsideration of what they might be."

“Josh Beach is a courageous visionary among those who seriously consider the community college and its place within the larger U.S. system of higher education. This book reflects both his critical nature and the boldness he brings to analyses of higher education. It paves new ground for re-envisioning the community college and the larger educational system of which it is such a critically important element.”

"Josh Beach’s Gateway to Opportunity does a fine job of outlining the dilemmas that community colleges face now, and the dilemmas that colleges as well as historians and policy-makers need to chew over. It asks us all to think long and hard about the educational institutions we create, and why they seem so contradictory. I like to think that faculty and administrators could use this book to forge workable proposals and solutions."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781579224523
  • Publisher: Stylus Publishing, LLC
  • Publication date: 1/28/2011
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

W. Norton Grubb W. Norton Grubb is David Gardner Chair in Higher Education, University of California, Berkeley

J. M. Beach has been a teacher and educational administrator in K-12 and postsecondary education for over fifteen years. He has variously been a Lecturer at Oregon State University and the University of California, an Instructor at several community colleges in Southern California and Texas, and a Research Associate at the California Community College Collaborative, focusing on promising practices in community colleges and vocational education. Beach is currently a Lecturer at the University of Texas, San Antonio. Outside of higher education, Beach has been a teacher and school administrator. He is a poet and holds advanced degrees in English, History, Philosophy, and Education.

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Table of Contents

Foreword—W. Norton Grubb

The Institutionalization of Community Colleges:The State of the Union
The Institutional Effectiveness Movement and Higher Education
What Is an Institution?
The Community College: A Contradictory Institution

Chapter One: The Creation and Institutionalization of Junior Colleges in the United States, 1900–1980s
An Aristocracy of Talent: The Origins of Higher Education in the United States
Educational Innovation: The Creation of Junior Colleges, 1900–1940s
A Reformation: The Reinstitutionalization of Community: Colleges Due to Increasing Student Access, 1950s–1960s
Community Colleges, Segregation, and Equality, 1960s–1980s
Whither To? Reaching a Plateau of Orthodoxy, 1970s–1980s

Chapter Two: Institutional Ambiguity: Continued Struggles of the Contradictory College
A Critique of Orthodoxy: The New Left Evaluates Community Colleges, 1970s – 1980s
Revised but Confused Orthodoxy: The Contradictory Community College’s New Missions, 1990s – 2000s
Are There Economic Returns to Community College Credentials? An Economic Assessment, 1990 – 2010

Chapter Three: Overburdened and Underfunded: The California Community College
Origins of the California Junior College
Massification of Higher Education and Post-War Planning
Segregated Education in California and the Junior College
The California Postsecondary Education Commission
The Master Plan Revised: Declining Budgets and a New System of Accountability
Conclusion: Accounting and Accountability

Chapter Four: The Ambiguous Legacy of the Community College: Policy, Administrative, and Educational Implications
The Reduction of Education to Human Capital
The Legacy of the Community College: A Limited Opportunity
Institutional Reform? Three Principles for Policy Makers

Selected Bibliography
About the Author


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