Because of President Obama's desire
to remake the community college system
into a vanguard of job retraining
and the general willingness
of community colleges to take up that mantle, there is currently some soul searching about the role of the community college system. The American Association of Community Colleges, in a report
titled, "Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation's Future
", lays out a plan for a future community college system much different than what exists today
"Now, there's a focus on accountability," says Walter Bumphus, president of the AACC. "We were founded on the premise of being open-access institutions, but recently there's been a pivot to focus more on student success. There's a focus not just on having them transfer [to four-year schools, but on getting them into the workforce."(US News and World Report
The report's recommendations are:
Increase completion rates of community college credentials (certificates and associate degrees) by 50 percent by 2020, while preserving access, enhancing quality, and eradicating attainment gaps associated with income, race, ethnicity, and gender.
Dramatically improve college readiness: by 2020, reduce by half the numbers of students entering college unprepared for rigorous college-level work, and double the rate of students who complete developmental education programs and progress to successful completion of related freshman-level courses.
Close the American skills gaps by sharply focusing career and technical education on preparing students with the knowledge and skills required for existing and future jobs in regional and global economies.
Refocus the community college mission and redefine institutional roles to meet 21st-century educational and employment needs.
Invest in support structures to serve multiple community colleges through collaboration among institutions and with partners in philanthropy, government and the private sector.
Target public and private investments strategically to create new incentives for educational institutions and their students and to support community college efforts to reclaim the American Dream.
Implement policies and practices that promote rigor, transparency, and accountability for results in community colleges.
The report also includes implementation strategies for each of the seven recommendations.
"This report is intended to be a bold roadmap - a working document - for community colleges to use as they implement these recommendations. To assist in this challenging work, AACC will establish the 21st Century Center to assist members with strategic planning, leadership development and research," said Bumphus.(WSJ Marketwatch
Predictably, local schools
and state governments
to implement changes
, with varying degrees of success and some opposition