Report Points to Challenges Across the Pipeline that Impact America's Ability to Compete
WASHINGTON, July 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States is facing an alarming education deficit that threatens our global competitiveness and economic future. The country is not keeping pace with other industrialized nations: Once a world leader in the proportion of adults ages 25 to 34 with postsecondary credentials, the United States now ranks 12th.
What will it take for the United States to reclaim its position as the leader in education throughout the world and ensure that 55 percent of Americans hold a postsecondary degree by 2025? That was the topic addressed at a meeting of education leaders and state and federal policymakers convened by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center (CBAPC) on Capitol Hill today. The discussion was hosted by Gaston Caperton, president of the College Board, and William "Brit" Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and chair of the CBAPC advisory committee.
"The growing education deficit is no less a threat to our nation's long-term well-being than the current fiscal crisis. It requires the same kind of attention and action at the highest levels of our education institutions and national and state governments," Caperton said. "To improve our college completion rates, we must think 'P–16' and improve education from preschool through higher education."
To inform the debate and help shape policies related to college completion, CBAPC released three new resources for policymakers and educators:
- The College Completion Agenda Progress Report 2010 is a comprehensive report of rigorous indicators aligned to 10 interdependent recommendations that charts the progress of the nation and each of the 50 states toward this goal. The Progress Report points to areas of progress in states, yet formidable challenges remain at every level of the system for students who aspire to enroll and succeed in college.
- Despite research that suggests preschool programs help better prepare children for success in school, just 47 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds from low-income families are enrolled in these programs, compared to 60 percent from high-income families.
- College counseling programs are critical to building a college-going culture and helping students navigate the college admission process, particularly for first-generation college students. Yet public secondary school counselors spend just 22.8 percent of their time on postsecondary admission counseling; nationally, the student-to-counselor ratio is 467:1, when the maximum recommendation is 250:1.
- Approximately 3.3 million 16- to 24-year-olds were not enrolled in high school and had not earned a high school diploma or alternative credential.
- Just 45 percent of states (23 states) have achieved alignment between K–12 and higher education standards.
- No state has a population of which at least 55 percent of its citizens have an associate degree or higher.
- The College Completion Agenda State Policy Guide was developed by CBAPC and the National Conference of State Legislatures. Written specifically for state legislators, the guide offers a road map for increasing the number of Americans who attain a postsecondary degree, and provides information and strategies so legislators can be an even more positive and active force.
- An interactive website combines the data with the policy strategies from the reports and allows the information to be easily accessed and customized by state. Visit http://completionagenda.collegeboard.org/.
These reports are aligned to the recommendations from the College Board's Commission on Access, Admissions, and Success in Higher Education. Formed in 2008, the commission was charged with studying the education pipeline as a single continuum and identifying strategies to significantly increase the proportion of students, especially low-income and underrepresented minority students, who graduate from college and are prepared to succeed in the 21st century.
The commission's report, Coming to Our Senses: Education and the American Future, established 10 interdependent recommendations to reach a goal of ensuring that at least 55 percent of Americans hold a postsecondary degree by 2025. The College Board made a commitment to measure progress toward this goal on an annual basis.
"The initial progress report issued by the College Board Advocacy & Policy Center underscores both the critical challenges and the vital importance of advancing the college completion agenda. The United States' downward drift among industrialized nations in postsecondary completion threatens our nation's future economic well-being as well as our position of global leadership. The coordinated, comprehensive approach recommended by the College Board gives us the opportunity to plug the numerous "leaks" in the education pipeline, reverse the troubling trends in college completion, and secure America's economic and social future for generations to come. I am heartened by the progress we are seeing in some areas, but a broader commitment is required if we genuinely wish to succeed," said Chancellor Kirwan, who chaired the commission.
The College Completion Agenda 2010 Progress Report and State Policy Guide are part of the CBAPC's efforts to provide the best data and information with the potential to inform and shape education policy to improve college success.
The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center was established to help transform education in America. Guided by the College Board's principles of excellence and equity in education, the Center works to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the opportunity to succeed in college and beyond. Critical connections between policy, research and real-world practice are made to develop innovative solutions to the most pressing challenges in education today. Drawing from the experience of the College Board's active membership consisting of education professionals from more than 5,700 institutions, priorities include: College Preparation & Access, College Affordability & Financial Aid, and College Admission & Completion. For more information, visit www.advocacy.collegeboard.org.
SOURCE The College Board Advocacy & Policy Center