Students Are Poor Citizens, and a Former U.S. Senator Pushes Colleges to Turn That Around

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Lauren Victoria Burke/Associated Press

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, chair, Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

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Lauren Victoria Burke/Associated Press

Former Florida Sen. Bob Graham, chair, Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 11, 2008, before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

Colleges are failing to produce competent public citizens, and accreditors should pay more attention to their performance in that area, says former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, a Democrat of Florida.

Mr. Graham says that too many Americans have no idea how to organize their neighbors to affect public policy. Even the students he encountered a few years ago during a visiting position at Harvard University, he says, lacked basic knowledge about how to leverage public power.