The California public higher education system is functioning with limited budgets, and more cuts to higher education were announced earlier this month. Combine this with other major challenges facing the system, including underprepared students, underperformance in student completion, and growing shortages of educated workers, and the future of California looks bleak. In confronting this dilemma, essay author John Aubrey Douglass with the Center for Studies in Higher Education (CSHE) at the University of California at Berkeley calls for a “mature” revamping of California’s higher education system over twenty years, rather than incremental and marginal changes. His recommendations include system reorganization, such as creating technical institutes, “transfer focused” campuses, and including four-year institutions within the CCC, new funding models and setting attainment goals.
Whether or not you agree with Douglass’ specific recommendations, it is important to acknowledge the fact that bold new ideas and approaches must be considered in addressing California’s growing challenges.
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In case you missed it - Divided We Fail LA: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in the Los Angeles Community College Distric
IHELP's newest report, sponsored by Alliance for a Better Community, applies the analysis used in our recent report, Divided We Fail, to the colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District. This report analyzes the progress and outcomes of degree- and certificate-seeking students in the Los Angeles Community College District. The study tracks the 2003-04 entering cohort (more than 18,000 students) over six years, analyzing their progress along a series of intermediate milestones and completion outcomes by race/ethnicity. The report points out the risks posed by racial/ethnic disparities and offers recommendations for changes to policy and practice with a goal of improving student success, especially among underrepresented minority populations.
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Earlier this month, the Education Commission of the States (ECS) announced a new two-year college completion initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The new initiative, Boosting College Completion for a New Workforce, will work with state legislators and other key state leaders to identify strategies that support state college completion goals and examine the impact of improved college completion rates on state economies. ECS plans to develop an online database of state policies that target college completion and identify measures that assess the impact of improved completion on state economic and workforce development goals.
ECS, an interstate compact of key education leaders and policymakers, is dedicated to improving public education by helping states develop effective policy and practice through data, research, analysis and leadership and by facilitating collaboration and the exchange of ideas among its forty-nine member states.
For more information on ECS and the initiative, visit ecs.org.