Dewey's Dream: Universities and Democracies in An Age of Education Reform : Civil Society, Public Schools, and Democratic Citizenship

By Lee Benson; Ira Harkavy et al. | Go to book overview

7
The University Civic Responsibility Idea
Becomes an International Movement

As the progress of learning consists not a little in the wise
ordering and institutions of each university, so it would be
yet much more advanced if there were a closer connection
and relationship between all the different universities of
Europe than now there is…. And surely as nature creates
brotherhood in families, and arts mechanical contract broth-
erhood in societies, and the anointment of God superinduces
a brotherhood in kings and bishops, and vows and regula-
tions make a brotherhood in religious orders; so in like man-
ner there cannot but be a noble and generous brotherhood
contracted among men by learning and illumination, seeing
that God himself is called “the Father of Lights.”

FRANCIS BACON, THE ADVANCEMENT OF LEARNING (1605)

THE ACCELERATING POSITIVE CHANGES in Penn s relationship to its local schools and community are neither atypical nor unique to Penn. More or less similar changes taking place throughout the United States testify to the emergence of a University Civic Responsibility movement—a national movement to construct an organizationally integrated, optimally democratic schooling system, as the most strategic means to advance American democracy.

A convenient way to suggest the rapid development of that movement during the 1990s and early 2000s is to contrast its relatively flourishing condition today with the devastating indictment against American universities that Derek Bok, the president of Harvard University, presented in 1990. In a major book published that year,

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