Democracy’s College: The American Community College in the 21st Century: Framing the Issue

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In this manuscript, the guest editors of the EPAA Special Issue on “Democracy’s College: The American Community College in the 21st Century”: a) introduce the background, history, and context of community colleges in the larger higher education landscape; b) summarize the three research papers and two video commentaries that were peer-reviewed and selected for inclusion in this special issue; and, c) discuss the individual contributions and major themes across the selected papers. Their importance is discussed in terms of each paper’s insights for the general research on this topic and each paper’s potential to inform community college research, practice, and policy.


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How to Cite
Topper, A. M., & Powers, J. M. (2013). Democracy’s College: The American Community College in the 21st Century: Framing the Issue. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 21, 14.
Author Biographies

Amelia Marcetti Topper, Doctoral Student Education Policy & Evaluation Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Arizona State University

Ms. Topper has worked in the education sector for over 15 years as both an educator and researcher, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Education Policy and Evaluation at Arizona State University. Ms. Topper has experience working on studies for the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Pell Institute, state agencies, and local school districts. She works with Achieving the Dream, a national community college reform movement, and has authored and co-authored numerous policy briefs on the initiative-wide database. Topics of research include postsecondary student access, persistence and retention; financial aid policies; community colleges; and, K-12 student migration and charter school enrollment. Ms. Topper’s research has been published in Review of Education Research, Journal of School Choice, and On the Horizon, and she is currently a Managing Editor of Education Policy Analysis Archives. She holds a Master's in Leadership in Teaching from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, and a Bachelor's in the Philosophy and Classical Languages from St. John's College, Annapolis, Maryland.

Jeanne M. Powers, Associate Professor Education Policy & Evaluation Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College Arizona State University United States

Dr. Powers received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on school choice, accountability policies, school finance litigation, and school segregation. Her book, Charter Schools:  Reform Imagery, Reform Reality, was published in 2009 by Palgrave Macmillan. One of Dr. Powers' ongoing projects is a historical analysis of Mexican American school segregation cases in the Southwest. For an example of this line of research, see, "Between Mendez and Brown: Gonzales v. Sheely (1951) and the Legal Campaign Against Segregation" (with Lirio Patton), an analysis of the legal arguments in Mexican American school segregation cases, which was published in March 2008 in Law and Social Inquiry. In another line of research she is examining how social science research shapes judicial decision-making in school finance cases. Dr. Powers' research has also been published in American Educational Research Journal, Educational Policy, and Equity and Excellence in Education. Dr. Powers is currently an Editor of Education Policy Analysis Archives.