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CSG Launches College Readiness Campaign

By Tim Weldon, CSG Education Policy Analyst
A national campaign to increase the number of high school students who are academically prepared for college after graduation has been launched by The Council of State Governments. The college readiness campaign, the National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access, is holding its inaugural meeting in Stuart, Fla., today through Friday.
The advisory council is comprised of senior staff from some of the nation’s most highly respected educational organizations. Their work will lay the groundwork for informing state policymakers, including legislators, members of state boards of education and postsecondary education councils about policies and programmatic solutions to increase college readiness.
“We believe that every student who has the ability and desire to enroll in college should have the opportunity to do so,” said Pam Goins, director of education policy at CSG. “However, our educational leaders are in agreement that far too many students are graduating from high school unprepared for postsecondary education.”  
Goins points out that more than 40 percent of students entering community colleges and 20 percent of students enrolled at four-year universities are required to take at least one remedial course. The advisory council will recommend policies, strategies and key programmatic solutions to achieve greater college readiness, particularly for historically underserved populations, such as racial and ethnic minorities, people from low-income families and first-generation college-goers.
Educational experts predict that over the next 15 years the U.S. will face a severe shortage in the number of workers with bachelor’s degrees or higher. By some estimates, the U.S. faces a degree deficit of more than 15 million by 2025.
“CSG believes that state policymakers must be part of the solution to improving access to and success in postsecondary education, and the first step to increase access must be to improve the readiness level of high school graduates,” Goins said.
Among the strategies the advisory council is expected to consider are increased academic rigor through greater access to Advanced Placement and dual credit courses, International Baccalaureate programs, improved teacher education and professional development, and the creation of seamless transitions from high school to college through P-16/20 councils and other innovative governance models.
The council’s recommendations will be disseminated to state policymakers through a series of policy guides and at regional and state policy summits.
Senior staff from the following organizations are participating in this week’s advisory council meeting: The College Board, the Council of Chief State School Officers, Jobs for the Future, the Lumina Foundation for Education, the National Education Association, the National Rural Education Association, the Educational Policy Institute, the American Association of School Administrators, the National Association of State Boards of Education, the Association of American Colleges and Universities, the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and the Darden Foundation.
New York Assemblywoman Barbara Clark, vice-chair of Education Commission of the States, Debra Raeder, director of the Arizona P-20 Council, and administrators from leading innovative high schools will also serve on the council. Dane Linn, education director for the National Governors Association and Indiana State Rep. Greg Porter, who chairs the CSG Education Policy Task Force, have also committed to working on the college readiness campaign.
The National Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education Access is funded through a grant from the 21st Century Foundation with additional support from the National Education Association and Darden Restaurants.
For more information, contact Pam Goins at pgoins@csg.org or (859) 244-8142.

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