Browder and Classroom Educators Initiate “Future Democracy
Course of Study”
2 September 2004 — Getting young people to take
responsibility for the future of American democracy is an ambitious assignment, but that's what former Congressman
Glen Browder and some classroom educators hope to accomplish with a new initiative for high school and college
Browder, now Eminent Scholar in American Democracy at Jacksonville State University, and several Calhoun County
School System teachers have put together a course of study—focusing on “The Future of American Democracy”—that
challenges young citizens to think seriously about "what America means" and "how America ought to
work" in the twenty-first century.
The team of educators has just completed a Study Guide for the ten-session course, which loosely parallels the logic of
Browder's Eminent Scholar Public Lecture Series and book (The Future of American Democracy: A Former Congressman's
Unconventional Analysis). Two copies of the Study Guide (along with a textbook)
are being distributed now without charge to all public and private high schools in Calhoun County; the guide also will be
incorporated into Dr. Browder’s JSU seminars and guest lectures elsewhere.
Anyone interested in examining or downloading the free Study Guide electronically may do so by accessing the “News and Notes”
section of Browder’s website at www.futureofamericandemocracy.org.
The Future Democracy initiative is designed as a supplement to existing courses or as a special assignment for study groups
and individual students. The format consists of ten topical sessions with suggested
content outline, main points and key concepts, open group discussion, individual journal assignments, and a recommended
According to Browder, “America is changing in important and unsettling ways, and we owe it to coming generations to talk
boldly about the future of American democracy.” The study program initially confronts
young people with a dramatic, rhetorical question: "Is America dying?" From
this provocative introduction, the course proceeds to examine America’s civic and governmental health; it then proposes
an "American democratic renaissance"; and it concludes by challenging the young citizens to become active
partners in American democracy.
Thus far, response to the project among participating educators has been very positive.
Flexible Resource. The teachers themselves seem delighted
with the collaborative effort. Stephanie Matthews of White Plains High School says
“Dr. Browder’s Future Democracy Project is an incredible teacher resource that correlates with the Alabama course of
study. "I plan to also use this project for my enrichment students, because it lends
itself to independent study." Ms. Mathews worked on the study guide with fellow
educators Jason Cox, White Plains High School; Veronia Hill, Pleasant Valley High School; and Carolyn Serviss, Saks High School.
Innovative Approach. Gail Carpenter, Calhoun County secondary education
curriculum specialist who oversaw the project, emphasizes the interesting approach of this initiative.
"Our teachers are continually searching for new, innovative ways to present
course content. Dr. Glen Browder's Future Democracy Project promises to be just that.”
Civic Relevance. Dr. Judy Stiefel, deputy superintendent for curriculum
and instruction for the Calhoun County School System, strongly supports the project for its educational value to future
citizens. “The availability of a quality resource, such as that being developed by
Dr. Browder and our team of Calhoun County American Government teachers, should help to better prepare our students to take
part in ensuring that our system of democracy endures.”
Important Outreach. According to JSU President Bill Meehan, "The
Future Democracy Project has the potential to raise awareness among students who will become future leaders. This is an
important outreach effort, and I applaud Dr. Browder’s work.”
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