High praise, but where’s the money?

Community colleges are “gateways to success,” writes Education Secretary Arne Duncan in a Huffington Post column.

In the years ahead, the overarching aim for community colleges must be dramatically boosting college completion and success. This is not about tinkering; it’s about transformation. This is not just about getting more students to enroll; it’s about getting more students to graduation day. To meet the President’s 2020 goal, we project that all institutions of higher education will need to increase their college attainment rates by 50 percent over the next decade.

At present, only one in four community college students earns a degree or certificate, or successfully transfers to universities for their baccalaureate degrees. That has to change if our nation, our communities, and our students are to thrive and remain competitive in the knowledge economy.

Where’s the money? asks Community College Dean. The Gates Foundation will donate $35  million, but Obama promised no additional federal funding to produce an extra five million community college graduates.

Private philanthropy is lovely, but if we think that it’s a serious substitute for sustained public funding, we’re kidding ourselves.

. . .  as far as bold leadership gestures go, Obama whiffed completely. This isn’t even close. If you want to double the number of college grads by 2020, this doesn’t even resemble a gesture.

When I voted for “change,” I didn’t realize it meant “spare.”

Wick Sloane, who covered the summit for Inside Higher Ed, says he’d prefer cash to kind words from on high.


POSTED BY Joanne Jacobs ON October 8, 2010

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