The expansion of the community colleges in recent years repeats an American pattern that couples class-based tracking with "educational inflation." Shaped by a changing economy and by the American ideology of equal opportunity, community colleges are moving toward vocational rather than transfer curricula and are channeling first generation college students into these programs. The author examines the social forces behind the community college movement and the social processes within the community colleges that have produced a submerged class conflict in higher education.

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