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. 
 

Policymakers know America’s educational system must transform to significantly increase the academic achievement of all students. A high-quality education, including content mastery and real world application, is critical to prepare students for college and careers. In order to ensure student success, leaders must tackle these top 5 issues facing states this year.

It has been noted that an affordable, high-quality higher education system is the single most important means at our disposal to create opportunity for all Americans, regardless of background. Unfortunately, nearly half of all students enrolling in a four-year college with the goal of attaining a bachelor's degree fail to graduate within six years. State policymakers and postsecondary institutions are beginning to address the issues of student success and retention, but there’s much more work to be done.

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