Calling the American dream imperiled, the American Association of Community Colleges issued a report on Saturday intended to galvanize college leaders to transform their institutions for the 21st-century needs of students and the economy.
Released here on the opening night of the group’s annual conference, the report acknowledges the sector’s historic growth and success but also argues that even so, far too many community-college students do not graduate. The study also found employment preparation inadequately connected to the needs of the job market, and a need for two-year colleges to work more closely with high schools and baccalaureate institutions.
“As they currently function, community colleges are not up to the task before them,” it says.
The report, “Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation’s Future,” is blunt: The colleges must “redesign their institutions, their mission and their students’ educational experiences” to ensure that they meet the needs of a changing society.
Labor experts predict that the job market will demand that more Americans hold postsecondary degrees or certificates.
To help college leaders “recast” their institutions, the report lays out seven recommendations. They include halving by 2020 “the numbers of students entering college unprepared for rigorous college-level work,” and establishing “policies and practices that promote rigor, transparency, and accountability for results in community colleges.”
The document also suggests tactics for carrying out each recommendation. The association plans to create a 21st Century Center that will help two-year colleges achieve their goals by providing them with “strategic planning, leadership development, and research.” (Read more.)