2009-2014

Updated |
New Law Brings Accountability to California Community Colleges
We explore Senate Bill 1456, which would hold community colleges in the state to a higher standard. How would this translate to benefits for students?
Community College Chancellor Jack Scott speaking on behalf of SB 1456. Photo Credit: The California Channel
In the midst of serious issues facing California community colleges today, there is possible reform on the horizon. A new bill has passed California state legislators and is currently waiting on the desk of Governor Jerry Brown. The proposed legislation would bring some consistency to the California community college system and require schools in the state to focus on success and completion rates as much as they focus on enrollment and budgets. While the governor hasn’t dropped any clues on which way he will go on this new law, those who drafted the legislation are hopeful that if passed, it could bring much-needed improvements to the California system.
 

Student Success Task Force

The legislation, dubbed Bill 1456 or the Student Success Act of 2012, was drafted by Sen. Alan Lowenthal, D-Long Beach. The senator used information compiled by the California Community College Student Success Task Force to create his new bill. According to iJournal, the 20-member task force included faculty, staff and students, as well as external stakeholders in the community college system.

The task force spent seven months examining how to improve success in community colleges, while boosting achievement for underserved students. At the end of the year, the task force presented their findings to stakeholders, in order to get additional input on the best ways to utilize this information effectively to improve the community college system in California. After the hearings were completed, the Board of Governors adopted a set of select recommendations that were used to
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Top 10 Community Colleges in the U.S. in 2013
We report on the most recent results of the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, which recognizes community colleges nationwide for their commitment to high achievement. Is your community college part of the top 10 for 2013?
The Aspen Institute recently released its top 10 finalists for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The award, which enjoyed its inaugural year last year, has quickly become the gold standard for community colleges across the country. The 10 schools on this list have demonstrated outstanding achievement in the areas of completion rates, learning outcomes, workforce preparedness, and success of at-risk students. These 10 colleges were selected from more than 1,000 institutions that have received consistently high marks in these four areas throughout the past academic year.
 

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence

The Aspen Institute initiated its award program last year, in response to calls by the White House to raise the bar on higher education. Community colleges serve as a practical place for many students, from those graduating from high school unable to afford a four-year university to professionals looking for additional career training. With so much focus placed on the role of community colleges over the past four years, the Aspen Institute established a plan to recognize and reward those schools that set the example and the standard for the rest of the community colleges nationwide.

The Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence recognizes one winner each year, as well as four finalists. Those chosen by the Aspen Institute will split a prize package of $1 million. Last year’s winner, and the first recipient of the Aspen Prize, was Valencia Community College in Orlando, Florida. This year, two more
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College Destroyed on 9/11 Reopens to Students
Eleven years after a portion of the Borough of Manhattan Community College was destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Fiterman Hall is scheduled to reopen.
Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons
In the remnants of the 9/11 terrorists attacks, few thought about one lone building from a local community college that was destroyed when the World Trade Center collapsed - except those who had come to call Borough of Manhattan Community College home. Over the next decade, the expanding college was forced to make other arrangements for holding classes – in the student cafeteria and temporary trailers set up in the vicinity of the original building. It was far from an ideal situation, with students reporting that the trailers didn’t always have working heat and served as a constant reminder of the terrible day when so many American lives were lost, including those of eight BMCC students and alumni.

But the school persevered.

This month, Borough of Manhattan Community College opened the doors of Fiterman Hall for the first time in more than 10 years. The beautiful new building is a reflection of light with windowed walls and a breathtaking lighted spiral staircase. It is a far cry from the smoke and debris that littered the area for so long. Now, students are preparing to take classes at Fiterman once again, in a brand new building designed just for them.

The Funding of Fiterman Hall

 The day of the attacks, Fiterman Hall was damaged beyond repair. The building was finally razed in 2009, the year that reconstruction began, according to the community college’s website. Prior to razing, funding had to come in to pay for the project. The building also had to
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The Fight to Save the City College of San Francisco
We report on the latest developments with the largest community college in California, as the City College of San Francisco fights to keep its accreditation and its doors open to students.
Photo Credit: ccsf.edu
San Francisco is in trouble, with a threat of accreditation loss looming and uncertainty over whether the school will even be able to remain open for much longer. According to many who have carefully examined the issues facing the college, the fault primarily lies with the school itself. From ineffective governance to mismanagement of funds, the City College of San Francisco is facing serious issues that could take Herculean efforts to overcome. Now, time is also running short for the school, as the accrediting commission has set a deadline in which the school must begin to show progress in improving their operations overall.
 
This video discusses how the fate of City College of San Francisco and its 77,000 students continues to hang in the balance.
 
 

Implications of “Show Cause” Rating

The accreditation commission recently gave the City College of San Francisco a “show cause” rating, which means the school shoulders the burden of showing why it should remain accredited. This sanction is the most serious of the three options an accrediting commission can offer. The San Francisco Examiner reports that a “show cause” rating is typically only given when an institution is in “substantial non-compliance” with accreditation standards.

Only two California schools have received similar ratings currently, according to the Los Angeles Times. College of the Redwoods and Cuesta College both are working their way through accreditation violations, in hopes of maintaining their accreditation. Another California school, Compton College, actually saw
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The Future of America: Career Education Plan Announced by Whitehouse
Learn about the new plan by the Whitehouse to revamp vocational education across America. Is it a true effort to increase jobs or an election-year ploy?
The Obama Administration has placed a heavy focus on community colleges and college completion rates over the past three years, raising awareness about the importance of education in improving the country’s unemployment rate. However, some have criticized the President for placing too much emphasis on education and not enough on actual job development. To that end, in addition to the Skills for America's Future program initiated in 2011, the President and Education Secretary Arne Duncan recently unveiled their latest plan aimed at transforming vocational education nationwide.
 
Making a Solid Investment
 
The latest initiative by the White House is titled, “Investing in America’s Future: A Blueprint for Transforming Career and Technical Education.” The program was designed as an outline for revamping the current Perkins Act of 2006, which was originally created to provide funding for vocational training at the secondary and postsecondary level. According to the U.S. Department of Education website, the Perkins Act primarily distributes funding through state grants, which State Boards for Vocational Education are encouraged and eligible to apply.
 
While the Perkins Act has been significant in developing vocational training across America, the current administration believes it could go farther in helping Americans train for the industries that have the highest need for skilled workers today. At a time when unemployment rates are still high, a restructuring of the Perkins Act could make vocational training more widely available both to displaced workers and high school graduates that cannot afford the hefty tuition rates at a
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Community College News

2009-2014