Harry Boyte, senior fellow in the Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, recently wrote an online column for political newspaper The Hill in which he argues that educators should seek to develop students’ abilities to handle conflict by engaging them in self-guided civic involvement. Recent conversations about free speech and identity politics have primarily focused on either criticizing or applauding students’ approaches to effecting change, a trend which Boyte feels too readily discounts a student’s agency.
“Young people are hungry for opportunities to learn the skills and concepts to handle conflicts and make constructive change,” he writes. Providing timely guidance and these opportunities is important because, “Young people are citizens today, not citizens in preparation.”
Boyte outlines the Public Achievement model of “citizen politics” as everyday problem-solving and public work. Public Achievement sees students work together on real-world projects (such as building a playground for local children) that require a broad set of skills vital to a democratic way of life. In one example, the students “got the parish council on their side, negotiated zoning changes with city officials, and raised $60,000 from local businesses. To accomplish these feats, they learned how to interview people, write letters, give speeches, call people they didn’t know. They deliberated, created alliances, raised money, mapped power, did research.”
Read: Teaching democratic values on The Hill’s site.
In his most recent article for the Huffington Post, Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, argues in favor of a relationship-based model for engaging students in democratic society.
Boyte refers to the “organizing” versus “mobilizing” model pioneered by civil rights leaders such as Ella Baker and Bob Moses. In this view of activism, mobilizing is goal-driven and short-lived, while organizing is relationship-driven and sustains engagement over time. Boyte draws a parallel between these different types of activism and educational approaches that focus either on outcomes–such as test scores–or personal growth and agency.
Read: Education as a New Frontier of Democracy at the Huffington Post.
In his latest Huffington Post article, Harry Boyte, Augsburg’s Sabo Senior Fellow, discusses the ways in which higher education can help people develop the skills of a democratic way of life. Boyte’s article used examples from the Augsburg College community to show how programming can prepare students to serve as “citizen professionals” and change agents.
Visit The Huffington Post website to read, “Regrowing Democracy — The Role of Higher Education.”
Harry Boyte, senior scholar in Augsburg College’s Sabo Center for Democracy and Citizenship, was named in a Forbes article about the changing tides and criticisms of public higher education. Boyte was mentioned in the article due to his role as a long-time commentator on democracy and its relation to higher learning.
Read, “Troubling Attacks On Public Higher Education” on the Forbes website.
In his recent article for The Huffington Post, Harry Boyte — Augsburg’s Sabo Senior Fellow — discusses the role Augsburg College and other universities can play in helping students address problems, meet challenges, and build a more democratic society using the public work approach. Read the article, Colleges as Agents of Change — The Public Work Approach, to learn more about Augsburg’s “down-to-earth quality wedding liberal arts education to career training grounded in practical experience.”