Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Institutional Policy and the Mainstreaming of Online Learning

I got my first exposure to online learning in the early 1990s at the University of Maryland University College.  In those pre-web days, UMUC developed its first online baccalaureate degree program.  A few years later, I was back at Penn State, where, in 1996, we began to plan the World Campus, which went online in 1998.  Today, online learning is entering its third decade as a change agent in our colleges and universities.  It is moving into the mainstream of many early adopter institutions.  In others, it is still proving itself as an innovation.  As more institutions move toward mainstreaming their online learning innovations, it is a good time to look ahead to some of the policy issues that institutions may want to consider.
            This is not to say simply that online learning needs to match up with the pre-existing policies.  Looking ahead, it is good to keep in mind that, when an innovation enters the mainstream, it changes the mainstream and that this, in turn, paves the way for future innovations.
Program Approval and Academic Authority
            At many institutions, the startup period for an online learning program often involves responding to entrepreneurial opportunities—a faculty member who is interested in experimenting, a client organization that has a pre-existing relationship with an academic unit, etc.  However, as online learning becomes an ongoing part of the institution’s services, it is essential that decisions to offer a program online are vetted in the same way as a program being proposed for on-campus delivery.  After all, online programs represent a long-term commitment by an academic unit and its faculty.  They become part of the faculty workload and, ideally, part of the reward structure within the academic unit and the institution as a whole.  Programs also represent a collaboration between the sponsoring academic department and the online learning unit.  Once online learning is mainstreamed, approval and central support for online programs should be managed within the shared governance environment that guides  on-campus programs.
Copyright:  Enabling OERs
            Online learning is, at one level, a publishing activity.  Institutions need to ensure that the material included in courses is properly copyright protected.  Most institutions will already have copyright policies that may need to be adjusted to include copyright of faculty-developed online course materials.
            One facet of copyright that has emerged in recent years is the idea of repurposing some online course content as “open educational resources” (OERs).  OERs could be used to provide K-12 schools with new content that allows teachers to enhance their classroom instruction.  They can also provide noncredit training opportunities to employees in client organizations.  Colleges and universities can also make them available to partner international institutions to ensure that students can effectively transfer to complete a degree. 
            The uses of OERs are still emerging.  However, several organizations have emerged to support the sharing of online resources.  One is the OER Commons, which notes that, “Open Educational Resources (OER) offer opportunities for systemic change in teaching and learning content through engaging educators in new participatory processes and effective technologies for engaging with learning.”  Another is the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources, a consortium of more than 250 institutions in Canada and the United States that “promotes the awareness and adoption of open educational policies, practices, and resources.”
            The emerging policy issue is for colleges and universities that produce online courses to ensure that online course content can be restructured as OERs.  Developing policy now will facilitate future innovation in this arena.
Certifications: Defining Badges
            Badges have emerged as a new kind of certification for online learning programs.  However, for them to work in the long run, they must become integrated with institutional policy.  Two policy issues are emerging in this area.
            First, as institutions offer badges for professional education, it is essential that they record them on a student transcript so that, in the coming years, if a student includes a badge on her resume or job application, the employer can verify the student’s accomplishment. 
            Second, institutions must develop standards for defining badges.  Ideally, inter-institutional standards for badges will emerge to allow them to have more value in student career advancement.
            A model for this was developed by the Continuing Education community back in the 1960s.  A recent article by Deb Peterson notes that the CEU concept emerged from a task force commissioned by the U.S. Department of Education in 1968.  Peterson notes that a CEU is defined as “unit of credit equal to ten hours of participation in an accredited program designed for professionals with certificates or licenses to practice various professions.”  The International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) takes responsibility for maintaining the standard and working with institutions and professional associations on CEU assessments.
            The time is rapidly approaching where institutions—and professional associations—will want to standardize badges in a similar way.  Meanwhile, colleges and universities can advance this area by creating their own criteria and working with peer institutions, higher education associations, and client professional associations to create standards that can be applied across institutions.
            These are three areas where colleges and universities that are innovating with online learning can develop policies that will allow them to fully realize the potential of online learning to fulfill their educational mission in the new global information society.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Considering the Voters

This election season, it has been hard not to talk about politics in situations where one normally avoids it.  Recently, I was at an “appreciation dinner” for donors and volunteers.  At my table, we pretty much avoided talking about the individual candidates, but one of the guests could not resist asking, “Why is our country so polarized this election year?”
            There are lots of reasons, of course, but I see three things—three major fault lines where American solidarity has begun to crumble, opening the way for strange politics.
            One of the fault lines is generational.  Over the past few years, Baby Boomers have begun to move past their leadership roles and into retirement.  At the same time, Millennials have arisen as the largest segment of today’s population, ready to take responsibility as the Baby Boomers move out.  It promises to be a messy hand-off of power and responsibility between generations. Millennial democrats were drawn to Senator Bernie Sanders not for his age, but for his ideas—the progressive vision that has faded in the Democratic Party as Congress has become dominated by conservative Republicans.  As the election nears, both major party candidates are early Boomers, born in the 1940s—the oldest candidates for President ever—and unable to communicate a vision that will attract Millennials; thus, many of them are considering a protest vote for Gary Johnson, another Boomer, born in 1953.  The 2020 election should give Millennials their first opportunity to put their own candidate forward; meanwhile, the generation gap gapes open, with none of the candidates really making a coherent case to the emerging majority age group.
            A second fault line is class.  Over the past decade, we have seen the progressive isolation of the American working class—who I will define as men and women who work in manual labor and skilled industrial jobs that do not require college degrees.  This group of Americans has had a difficult time in the United States since the Great Recession of 2007-08.   For years, leading up to the economic downturn, the working class had been largely ignored by both Democrats and Republicans.  We saw the power of labor unions begin to fail.  We saw government increasingly under the sway of big corporations and moneyed interests, including the Supreme Court’s decision that business interests can fund political campaigns as if they were individual citizens.  At the same time, we saw the rise of a new, global information economy that has shaken old assumptions about work and community.  Historically, the Democratic party had been the party of organized labor.  Historically, the Republican Party was the party of small business, including farmers.  However, by 2007, those constituencies often felt abandoned. 
            A third fault line is race and culture.  In 2008—at the height of the recession—we elected our first African-American President.  The working class, already struggling and having increasingly to compete with newer immigrants from Asia and Latin America, now felt abandoned.  The Republican Party determined to totally isolate President Obama.  The “Tea Party” arm within the GOP got started.  Legislative paralysis set in, and the working class, with no one backing them, paid the price.
            Someone recently noted that, this year, the political dividing line is not between the right and the left.  Instead, the divisions cut across these economic, class, and racial fault lines.   The challenge for everyone—in and out of government—is to avoid an earthquake.  In 2017, the new President, the new Congress, and the States will need to set aside the “do nothing” tactics of the last eight years and work together to address the issues facing working Americans.  And, they will need to do so in a way that avoids the traps set by corporate interests—Second Amendment scares, for instance—and that engages working class Americans in decisions about how best to meet today’s challenges.  For instance, while working people do need some federal support, they have also made it clear that they want to protect their individual freedoms.  Finding the balance will require open discussion, increased understanding, and compromise.  It is time to work together.
            Several issues stand out as potential winners in this environment:
·      Tax Reform – Very clearly, our tax system is unbalanced in favor of very wealthy citizens.  Reducing income taxes—state and federal—for working class citizens makes sense at two levels.  First, it leaves them with more net in their paychecks.  Second, it begins to recognize the importance of workers in creating a positive, productive dynamic in the new economy.
·      Wage Reform – We need a minimum wage that allows full-time front-line workers to make a living from their work.  This is fundamental in a democracy. 
·      Free Higher Education – Democrats have proposed making some level of higher education free to students.  This is a natural extension of free elementary and secondary education—a product of the industrial revolution—that recognizes the need for a more educated frontline workforce.  I have elsewhere proposed that we complement this by promoting a year of public service, so that young people make a contribution to their community—and learn about the nature of work—as part of their common educational experience.  Regardless, if the nation needs a better educated frontline workforce in order to compete globally, we need to ensure that young workers have access to education.
            These are examples of initiatives that would empower the working class and help them regain their footing in the new global information society.  It may be one of the most important domestic issues for the new President.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Learning Communities

Last year, I wrote a piece on “Re-Imagining Continuing Education,” which focused on the need for universities to re-invigorate the continuing education function in order to meet the needs of the dramatically changing communities that we serve.  One thing I suggested was that Continuing Education units could adapt the MOOC concept in order to deliver noncredit services to groups within the community.  Today, I’d like to expand a bit on that idea.
            First, though, we need to get beyond the “MOOC” model as it has emerged.  MOOCs were initially advertised as a way to extend noncredit education to under-served areas.  They became shadows of credit-based online courses.  They also became a business for some.  At any rate, true noncredit Continuing Education programming goes well beyond what the public identifies with a MOOC.  It is time to start from scratch.
Continuing Education can best use online learning technologies in a noncredit environment by creating online “learning communities”—systems that allow universities to maintain an ongoing engagement with a client group through which multiple learning opportunities can be developed.   Learning Communities would have several key elements:
·      The ability for participants to enroll and participate in faculty-led noncredit online courses, research transfer seminars, and training workshops.  Some of these may lead to certificates, “continuing education units,” or badges.
·      Access to open educational resources (OERs) developed by the host institution to provide specific research-based content that users can apply in their local working environment.  These may be small training modules, demonstrations of new processes and procedures, backgrounders on regulation, or academic content that members can use to train local staff.  OERs might include video lectures, process demonstrations, computer models, etc.
·      A social media environment that allows members to interact informally with each other and with academic experts on local issues as they arise and to share experiences in using OERs and applying the content acquired from the Learning Community.
·      A data bank where ideas, discussions, etc., can be stored for later access.
            Each Learning Community would be led by faculty in the sponsoring academic unit and administered by the Continuing Education/Engagement/Extension office.  The institution should assume that the Learning Community’s needs may extend beyond the major discipline around which it is organized; one role of the Continuing Education office, then, would be to help attract other disciplines to the Learning Community when the need arises.  The Continuing Education office would also be in a good position to ensure that successful innovations generated by one Learning Community are shared with others. 
            Learning Communities could benefit any number of professional groups that are geographically dispersed or work in different organizations.  Some examples:
·      School Teachers
·      School Administrators
·      Hospital Professionals
·      Farmers
·      Local Government Professionals, such as Borough Managers, Financial Officers, Police, Firefighers, etc.
·      Elected Officials
·      Tourism Directors
·      Small Business Owners/Operators
·      Specialized Professionals
·      Leaders in Civic Organizations
·      Civic Clubs and Service Organizations
·      Librarians
            While each Learning Community would have a distinctive set of services and programs, all might operate under a similar business model that would have three major components:
·      An annual subscription fee would fund basic operation of the Learning Community.  The fee might apply to the organization or to its members.  For instance, a school district could join a Learning Community, giving a specific number of teachers access in a given year; or the district’s membership might be based on the number of teachers in that district.
·      During the year, the Learning Community would offer a variety of formal noncredit training programs.  An individual registration fee would be required of all participants (either paid by the member organization or directly by the participant).
·      A Learning Community may choose to charge a subscriber to download OERs.
            The goal would be to keep membership fees low, with the understanding that the value of the Learning Community increases with the number of members.
            Ideally, each Learning Community would also have an advisory board that would give members a voice in governance.
            Most institutions involved in Continuing Education/Engagement/Extension have some experience with organizing constituents in order to coordinate services.  In many cases, existing business models could be adjusted to the online environment. 
            The Learning Community model offers new ways for colleges and universities not only to extend their academic expertise into the community, but to create an ongoing two-way relationship between faculty and their constituencies for research and technology transfer—and to identify new areas for future research and development.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

In Defense of Hillary Clinton

I get it that some people just don't know what to make of me.”
That is Hillary Clinton in her acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention.   Throughout her campaign, she has had to deal with what people see as differences between her public persona and her private self, between public speech and private speech, between public actions and private actions.  It is something that all politicians—in fact, all leaders—find themselves dealing with at one time or another.  But for Hillary Clinton, it is an especially open and onerous issue.
Hillary Clinton is not the only female national political figure who has had to deal with differences between her public persona and her private life.  Think of Eleanor Roosevelt.  Think of Jacqueline Kennedy.  But she is the first woman to be nominated by a major party to be President of the United States, and as such she is being examined on issues that most male candidates never have to face.  Questioning her private versus public persona is one of those issues.  Moreover, she has stepped into this limelight not only with more than five decades of public service behind her (see her website for details), but she is doing so in a time when privacy is very difficult to maintain and when one’s past is always in danger of popping up in the present.  Today’s online environment leaves very little to be truly private.   The 24-hour news channels are always hungry for new material.
This came up at the October 9 televised “town hall” debate, where she was asked about comments she made in private meetings that were leaked to the public in an attempt to discredit her.  She used as an illustration, the scene in the move Lincoln where Abraham Lincoln talked privately about the CSA sending a delegation to Washington to pursue peace while publicly stating that no delegation was in D.C.   His goal:  getting Congressional support for a Constitutional amendment on emancipation before the Civil War ended.

             In a recent New YorkTimes Magazine article Robert Draper notes that, since Bill Clinton’s first loss as a candidate for Governor of Arkansas,  Hillary has built defenses between her private self and her public persona.  He quotes Gay White, the wife of the candidate who defeated Bill Clinton, as saying that, as a result of trying to differentiate her private and public personas, Hillary “has not been able to be an authentic person.”
Well, one might ask, have other Presidents been “authentic” people?   What did the public really know about the “authentic” presidents of the past?  Did we really see the authentic Jack Kennedy when he was elected in 1960?  What about the authentic wheelchair-ridden Franklin Roosevelt?  We tend to focus on whether a public person presents an “authentic” public persona, understanding that some things remain private.  Not so, apparently, for a woman.
           There is another important factor in the case of Hillary Clinton.  Draper notes in his article that, when Bill Clinton first ran for governor, his wife was Hillary Rodham. This Baby Boomer had learned the lesson of the women’s movement and had kept her birth name in marriage.  In fact, much of her early career had been as a social advocate for children and families.  As I have noted in a recent blog posting popular culture has long ago buried the experience of the 1960s.  Today’s young adults enjoy the benefits of the social revolution of the sixties—civil rights, women’s rights, gay/lesbian rights, etc. – but most have no idea what the young social activists of the sixties went through to expand opportunity and rights to all Americans.   I cited Carla Bingham’s comment that, “even hazier was the understanding of what could possibly have mattered so much.”
            After that first defeat, Hillary Rodham changed her name to Hillary Rodham Clinton.  She began to accept that the public passions of the sixties needed to be privatized if she was to achieve public change.  The result is a tension between private passion for improving lives and public position on how that improvement can be effected—a tension heightened by the public’s tendency to be over-concerned about the private personality of the person who, I certainly hope, will become our first female President.
            Hillary Clinton has been a public figure for most of her adult life.  Much of that has been beyond the scope of any elected position.  Instead, she has simply devoted her life to the public good, seeking elected office for herself only in the last 15 or so years.  She stands as perhaps the most qualified candidate for President in many decades.  I hope that, as we move into the final weeks before the election, the American public will focus on her qualifications—her real achievements in public life—as well as her qualities as a person.  She is not just the best alternative to her opponent; she is the best candidate for our times.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Revisiting the Sixties

            A few days ago, I volunteered to help encourage Penn State students to register for the vote.  At the start-up meeting, a young woman next to me asked if I had done this sort of thing before.  I answered that my wife and I had gone door to door to promote George McGovern's candidacy.
            "Oh," she said, and then, "I've never heard of him."
            "It was 1972," I replied.  “He was the anti-war candidate against Nixon.”
            "Oh," she said.  "That was before I was born."
            It reminded me of how little people--of any age--talk about the sixties and seventies these days.  When I was in high school back in the early sixties, what did we watch on television?  To be sure, we had our own generation’s icons; there was Star Trek and Twilight Zone and Gunsmoke.  But we also watched movies on TV and, typically, they were movies from the 1940s.  We knew, from television, a lot about our parents' music, their cultural icons, and, of course, their war.  The sixties, though, are different.  They are, for many young people, an unknown place. 
            It is not just politics, of course.  In those days, politics, Vietnam, civil rights, the Great Society program, the youth movement, sexual liberation, music were all intricately inter-connected.  And, as a result, they are all a mystery to many younger people.
            In her new book, Witness to the Revolution,  Clara Bingham notes that “from the start of the academic year in 1969 until the beginning of classes in September 1970, a youth rebellion shook the nation in ways we may never see again.  It was the crescendo of the sixties, when years of civil disobedience and mass resistance erupted into anarchic violence . . .  And yet, the school year of 1969-70 has gone largely overlooked.” (It was, parenthetically, my senior year in college, when student protests brought an early end to spring term at Penn State.) Bingham notes that, in our cultural memory, there is a “mental jump from ’68 to Watergate” (p. xxvi) and, ultimately, to the Reagan Revolution and the nation’s abrupt turn to the right.  Bingham, who herself was born in 1963, notes that “the turmoil and passion of the 1960s was a hazy memory, and even hazier was the understanding of what could possibly have mattered so much” (p.xxxv).
            That may change next year when PBS broadcasts Ken Burns’ new ten-part documentary series The Vietnam War.  The series, according to Burns' website,   "sheds new light on the military, political, cultural, social, and human dimensions of a tragedy of epic proportions that took the lives of 58,000 Americans and as many as three million Vietnamese, polarized American society as nothing has since the Civil War, fundamentally challenged Americans’ faith in our leaders, our government, and many of our most respected institutions, and called into question the belief in our own exceptionalism."
            It should be an interesting year for conversations across generations.  It will be good to see if we, as a society, are able to have an open discussion not only of the war, but of the cultural, social, and political turmoil that was part of the times—a social conversation that we have largely abandoned since the 1970s.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

A Lesson from Jane Addams Revisited

I first posted the following item back in 2013, at the beginning of President Obama's second term in office.  I am posting it today for two reasons.  First, it is Jane Addams birthday.  Second, the lessons we can learn from her are as relevant today--if not more so--than they were in 2013:

Back in 1919, at the end of the first World War, Jane Addams published an article called "Americanization" in the Publications of the American Sociological Society.  She focused on the different ways in which the idea of "Americanization" was perceived before the War and after it.  Before the war, she wrote,
"Americanism was then regarded as a great cultural task, and we eagerly sought to invent new instruments and methods with which to undertake it.  We believed that America could be best understood by the immigrants if we ourselves, Americans, made some sort of a connection with their past history and experiences."   
However, after the war, she notes, "there is not doubt that one finds in the United States the same manifestation of the world-wide tendency toward national dogmatism, the exaltation of blind patriotism above intelligent citizenship . . ."

There is a lesson here for our times, when our national politics on almost every front (including, still today, immigration) has become weighed down by dogmatism, leaving us little space to find the middle path that makes democracy work.  As Addams herself noted,
"When we confound doctrines with people, it shows that we understand neither one nor the other.  Many men, not otherwise stupid, when they consider a doctrine detestable, failing to understand that changes can be made only by enlightening people, feel that they suppress the doctrine itself when they denounce and punish its adherents."
 Too often, these days, our elected representatives feel themselves morally bound to adhere strictly to a dogmatic vision, either the one they campaigned on or the one held by the people who funded their elections.  As a result, we have seen a virtual paralysis of government.  American democracy is performed through argument and discussion, but ultimately achieved through negotiation and compromise--finding a common ground on which we can all agree to work together as a community.

As a first step, we need to ask our elected representatives to see their colleagues not as adherents to a different dogma, but as fellow citizens.  In turn, they need to educate the public--and lobbyists--that their job is to advance the total community, not just their partisans.   One place where that job can be engaged is in the news media.  Too often, as has been said before in this blog, the news media serve to reinforce the differences in dogma rather than to help viewers find the middle ground where good policy can be developed.

We just began a new four-year political cycle.  Let's hope that Congress and the Administration can find a middle path and that the news media, rather than simply inviting the dogmatic extremists to butt heads on every issue, will foster a fair analysis that will help everyone educate themselves about what can truly be done to find common ground solutions.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Policy Lessons from "Hillbilly Elegy"

I just finished reading Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  It is an amazing book and, I think, and important one.
            I had imagined that Hillbilly Elegy would be a kind of social culture study of the Scots-Irish who came to the U.S. and settled in Kentucky and other parts of Appalachia.  However, I was surprised—and then delighted—to see that it was not that.  Instead, it was a very personal memoir by Vance, who grew up as part of a hillbilly clan who had migrated from Kentucky to the steel mill town of Middletown, Ohio.
            What hit me first was Vance’s personal story.  Like him, I grew up in a fractured family without a father and with few male role models, but with a nearby extended family.  My mother, my brother, and I lived with my grandparents in a little one-bedroom house that had been meant as a temporary residence, but which had been the family’s home for a couple of decades already when I was born.   My grandmother’s brothers and sisters had all bought lots up and down the same street when the local farmer decided to sub-divide, so I was rarely out of earshot of a relative.  Down the street was my best friend, whose aunt had married my uncle.  It was all family.   We were also poor—in the midst of an otherwise healthy middle class neighborhood— something we didn’t talk about.  So, it was rewarding to see someone else talk honestly and in detail about growing up in a similarly complex environment.
            Vance, who escaped the poverty of his youth to go to Ohio State and then Yale Law School, gives us an insight into the inner workings of this group of Americans—descendants of Scots-Irish immigrants who came to the U.S. in the early 1800s and settled in the coal mining area of Kentucky and whose descendants migrated to the coal and steel towns of what is now known as the Rust Belt.   The strong multi-generational family culture, the willingness to fight “outsiders” who threaten that culture, and the traps that tend to keep them from more fully integrating into society are all explored as Vance tells his own story.
            Vance also takes time to analyze the white working class culture.  He notes that the decline of the blue-collar economy has increased cynicism about the position of working people in American society, but that “there was something almost spiritual about the cynicism of the community at large, something that went much deeper than a short-term recession” (p. 188).   Herein lies one timely lesson of Vance’s memoir.   It is a culture, he observes, that feels increasingly isolated from the core of an American society that has rejected a commitment to its working people.  “If Mamaw’s God was the United States of America,” he writes, “then many people in my community were losing something akin to a religion.  The tie that bound them to their neighbors, that inspired them in the way my patriotism has always inspired me, had seemingly vanished” (p. 190).  
Vance asserts that the news media and conservative politicians have encouraged working people to look not to themselves but to government to blame for their inability to succeed in today’s economy.  “There is,” he writes, citing a Pew Economic Mobility Project study, “no group of Americans more pessimistic than working-class whites” (p. 194).
That pessimism is very likely—and ironically—what has drawn working white men and women to the radical right-wing views expressed by Donald Trump and the “alt.right.”  In the mid-twentieth century, labor unions had given steelworkers, miners, and many other occupations a level of financial and social stability that they had never seen.  The very term “redneck” comes from the red bandanas of pro-union coal miners in West Virginia.  The 21st century, however, has seen a weakening of the labor movement as corporations take jobs out of the country in order to avoid reasonable wages for American workers.  Government has chosen not to fight the corporations, leaving workers without support.  While it is very strange that workers would turn to one of the most opportunistic corporate leaders in this election, they clearly hear his pitch, however insincere it may be. 
The question for all of us must be:  how can we provide real opportunities for working people to succeed in the new global information society that has sprung up around us?  This was the message of Bernie Sanders.  Elements of that remain alive in Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Politics aside, what should we do?  Some thoughts:
We need to move beyond the current Affordable Care Act to a true national health system that guarantees all citizens access to medical services.  The issue should not be to make health insurance more easily accessible; it should be to make access to health care a right of citizenship.
We need to tax corporations that move jobs overseas or that move corporate operations out of the country in order to avoid taxes.  Corporations that benefit from the American economy must contribute to its health, pure and simple.
We need a minimum wage that allows anyone who works full time to be able to support his/her family.
We need to explore a modern counterpart to the Civilian Conservation Corps to ensure that all Americans have access to work that feeds their families and contributes to the community.  The military must not be the only refuge for people who cannot find employment.  This might also serve as part of a “year of service” expectation for young people between the time they leave school and when they become full-time workers or move on to college.
Finally, we need to make some level of postsecondary education available as a right of all citizens.  This may be a two-year period that would allow someone to gain a license or an associate degree or make a start toward a baccalaureate degree. Today’s economy requires that workers have greater training.  Ensuring that our workforce is prepared for the economy is, ultimately, a national security issue.
These solutions are reminiscent of FDR.  The key, as I read the implications of Hillbilly Elegy, is to empower people rather than put them on the dole.  Underneath it all is the need for government—“of the people, by the people, for the people”—to  respect the needs of citizens rather than cater to corporations.  It is a “build up,” rather than “trickle down” approach to creating a healthy economy.