Achieving the Dream to Help States Reform Higher Ed

The Postsecondary State Policy Network – the work of the non-profit Achieving the Dream, Inc. – is welcoming five additional states – Connecticut, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Virginia, with these additions bringing the number of states participating in the PSPN to 11.

The goal of the network is to determine which policies – be they administrative, system or legislative – will best promote the aim of institutional reform in higher education. The secondary goal is to put down pathways that students can follow when working towards completion of their college degree. The network also aims to spread these reform strategies, lessons and resultant models across the states.

Achieving the Dream is collaborating with Jobs for the Future to join network participants and to have them working together, and sharing their experiences, all in an effort to raise their respective college graduation rates.

One way that state policy teams will spread promising practices, challenges, and lessons learned is through cross-state meetings. The first of those meetings will take place November 27 in Boston, MA.

Representatives from the states, Achieving the Dream, and Jobs for the Future will be in attendance. Attendees will discuss their work; specifically, how they will improve student services so more students can succeed in college. In the coming year, Achieving the Dream supported states will pursue a range of evidence-based reform initiatives, from piloting performance-based scholarships and improving transfer success, to fundamentally transforming the delivery of developmental education. These reforms are crucial in meeting the national demand for a more college-educated citizenry.

Community college systems all over the country are experiencing tremendous difficulties at the moment as they balance an ever-growing number of students with ever-shrinking state education budgets. The states that have joined the PSPN recognize that a time of difficulty such as this is also a time of opportunity to bring about sweeping reform in how community college systems deliver education to their students.

“While a significant number of the students walking through the community college front door may not be college-ready, Achieving the Dream and our National Reform Network believe that all students walking through the door are college-material,” said Carol Lincoln, Senior Vice President, Achieving the Dream. “We will work closely with our policy states to ensure that the reforms are guided by our values of equity, excellence, and evidence.”

Achieving the Dream has been committed to policy reform as a means to achieving its goal of community college success for an increasing number of students nationwide, and it sees working with Jobs for the Future as important to creating an environment in community colleges that will make it possible for students to succeed.

11 28, 2012
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