Wendy Lewis went from military service to school and seemed to be lacking one key to success in life outside the Army—structure. Lewis recently participated on a student panel during a Council of State Governments Policy Academy, “Veterans Initiatives: Increasing Educational Attainment.” The goal of the five panels, according to Marshall Thomas, director of Veterans Affairs Services at California State Long Beach and a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, was to discuss how to go beyond simply saying “thank you for your service,” and how to best help veterans achieve educational success.

Many policymakers and education officials are watching closely as Tennessee rolls out an ambitious plan to provide free postsecondary tuition to the state's high school graduates.  As part of Gov. Bill Haslam's "Drive to 55" initiative, the newly signed Tennessee Promise bill will provide two years of community college or a college of applied technology at no cost to students.  The overall goal is to increase the number of Tennesseans earning a degree or certificate to 55 percent from the current rate of 32 percent.

It is clear we need American students to be more than warehouses of knowledge and information as the expectation has been in the past.  As a nation we must bring our educational system up-to date so students also can apply knowledge and solve complex problems. This begins with high-quality early learning, continues through K-12 then continues until college completion and careers.  Students must be able to work not only independently, but also with each other; they also need to be able to communicate ideas effectively. In short, to be successful in today’s world, every student must graduate from high school college- and career-ready.  In order to ensure student success from early education through college completion and careers policymakers must address these 5 issues as legislatures begin this year.

CSG Director of Education Policy Pam Goins outlines the top five issues in education policy for 2014, including high quality early childhood education and funding, college- and career-readiness, K-12 assessment and accountability systems, the growing use of technology and digital learning, and degree attainment and college completion. 

The longer a student takes to complete an associate or bachelor’s degree, the more it costs both the student and taxpayers. Fewer than half of all students entering four-year universities in 2003 and 2004 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in 48 months or less. The Center for College Affordability and Reliability reports the public sector would save $7.5 billion each year if all students graduated on time.

A regional accrediting association has given its blessing to a new degree option in Wisconsin that will make it easier for working adults to learn at their own pace and earn credits once they have demonstrated competency in the course.

Stateline Midwest ~ June 2013

Ever since he joined the legislature more than a decade ago, North Dakota Sen. Tim Flakoll says, lawmakers have been looking to change how the state funds its higher-education system.

This year, he says, “We were finally able to crack the code.”

Arkansas is about to give some of its college students “credit when it’s due.” The state’s higher education leadership announced on Wednesday a plan that will make it easier for students who begin postsecondary studies in a community college but later transfer to a four-year institute to earn an associate degree.

Policymakers and educators say too many students are leaving colleges or universities without a degree and it’s hurting the future economic competitiveness of the country. “Just half of students who start a four-year bachelor’s degree program finish in six years,” said Alison Griffin, a consultant at HCM Strategists and one of the speakers on CSG’s December webinar, “Increasing Academic Success in Postsecondary Education.” “Fewer than three out of 10 students starting community college graduate with associate degrees in three years. … Once first in the world, America now ranks 10th in the percentage of young adults with a college degree.”

CSG Director of Education Policy Pam Goins outlines the top five issues in education policy for 2013, including college- and career-readiness, assessment and accountability systems, teacher preparation, college completion, and funding for post-secondary education. 
 

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