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The Future of College

Kevin Carey's book "The End of College" is stirring up debate in higher ed circles. This week, a response to the book by a critic.

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in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Encourage people to tell their own stories

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From: Elaine B., Memphis, TN

I tell stories to children who are falling behind academically in the public school, and I tell stories to women in the county correctional system. I provide opportunities for the students and inmates to share their personal stories, and I promote listening as a valuable skill. When people, young or old, are given the opportunity to tell their stories to other people who really listen, transformation happens. Poverty erodes self image and makes us think we do not matter, that we are invisible. By listening, neighbors, family members, teachers, co-workers and church members can pull each other out of poverty's destructive forces.

Last year I gave each of the children a disposable camera when they went home for the holiday break, instructing them to take pictures of their family. I told them I would develop the pictures and make an album for each child. They would be expected to stand up and tell us the story of "My Family and the Holidays." One boy used all 24 exposures taking pictures of the television. He took 24 pictures of 24 programs on television. Each child took pictures that included images of the television set. In every case the television was the most photographed member of the family and a central character in the holiday story.

This project turned out to be very telling about the children and their struggles to succeed in school. No one at home has the time or capacity to listen to the children, look into their faces and attend to their narratives and needs. Poverty robs mothers and fathers of their time for parenting. Poverty robs parents of their self worth and their dreams. So they finally give up on even trying to pass along anything positive. Face to face sessions of storytelling and story listening can open new windows for change and hope. Sitting in a safe circle where all stories are heard and respected as sacred gifts, we can hear people's dreams coming back to life. Each human being is so much more than what they possess or how much money they keep in the bank account. Each story is a reflection of power and purpose. A story shared is a story made real.


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American RadioWorks |
screen grab inside higher ed

The Future of College

Kevin Carey's book "The End of College" is stirring up debate in higher ed circles. This week, a response to the book by a critic.

Recent Posts

  • 03.25.15

    The End of College or the University of Everywhere

    When education policy wonk Kevin Carey looks into the future, he sees the end of traditional colleges and universities and he says that's a good thing.
  • 03.18.15

    UnRetirement

    Today older Americans are heading back to school in record numbers. Many have already started a career, but want to gain knowledge or skills that can make them more competitive in the workplace. Colleges and universities are grappling with the needs of a changing population of students.
  • 03.11.15

    The Test

    In her new book,“The Test: Why Our Schools are Obsessed with Standardized Testing–But You Don’t Have to Be,” NPR Education Blogger Anya Kamenetz examines the role testing plays in American public education.
  • 03.04.15

    An Administrator Responds to Adjunct Protests

    Last week, we talked about growing dissent among adjunct college instructors who claim they’re not getting compensated fairly for the work they do. This week we’ll hear from someone who has dealt with this issue from the administration side.