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High Schools and Colleges Need to Prepare Graduates to Be Well Educated Servant-Leaders

Why Higher Education and our Communities Need to Work More Closely Together

An article today in the Guardian about highered and literary approbation serves as impetus for today's thoughts regarding the communication and responsiveness of the ivory towers of the academy and the real world. The need for this is not new. There are reasons why Plato and Socrates called for higher levels of learning for those involved in governance. Remember the level of greatness that Aristotle's student Alexander achieved as a leader.

The times today require hard and soft skills of graduates. Higher education and all colleges/universities need to produce graduates prepared for jobs . . . and for citizenship: ethics, hard work ethic, community service, global mindedness.

In light of global terrorism, violence at home and in the streets, racism, injustice with over 20% of young Americans on a Kindergarten to prison track instead of K to 12 to college/work track, the academy simply must step up as a leader and prepare students for engaged lives as citizen servant-leaders.

The article that spurs these thoughts focuses on literature, but it speaks to the extent to which we all need our colleges and universities to be responsive to community and world needs.

Below I've attached the article about literary criticism and the extent to which "experts" value select texts while devaluing those texts most popular with readers. The irony is that Shakespeare's plays in his day were accessible and popular with the masses. A question we need to ask is why literature has become stratified across socioeconomic and educational levels.

Much television and film have broad appeal and cross classes and demographics, with the exception of art movies and PBS. [A corollary to this is the fact that we should be educating more of our young people to be able to appreciate and value films by Bresson and Bergman, music by Bach and Beethoven, and literature by Dickens and Dickinson.]

Too, writers and film makers can make deeply engaging and thoughtful creative work that is accessible to a broad audience. Many Native American and Canadian First Nations writers and film makers do this consistently out of a commitment to their communities. Check out these film clips and trailers: Smoke Signals , Skins , On the Ice , The Lesser Blessed , and Frozen River . 

Great film and literature can be accessible and deeply meaningful to individuals' lives and the world. Let's see higher education commit to ever higher levels of education and maturation for all students--preparing them well to shoulder the jobs, community needs, and crises of the 21st century--for the betterment of the world. Our communities, families, selves, nations, and the world need this.

Here's the Guardian news story that spurred today's blog>> If you enjoyed a good book and you're a woman, the critics think you're wrong


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