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An "A" for Access, A "C" for Success

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Unequal Resources

Community college students get less than half the funding provided to students at four-year institutions, says TC Professor Thomas Bailey.

Community colleges were created in 1947 by the President's Commission on Higher Education to give all Americans low-cost access to public higher education. Some 60 years later, they've delivered on that promise - but not, for the most part, on the successful lives that were meant to follow.

"If you are interested in educational equity, community colleges should be central to your agenda," said Thomas Bailey, Director of the Community College Research Center and the George and Abby O'Neil Professor of Economic and Education at Teachers College. "Without a high school degree, one has little chance of getting a decent job, but that societal minimum is rising - getting through some college will soon be the baseline."

Michael A. Rebell, Executive Director of TC's Campaign for Educational Equity, traced some of the problems faced by community colleges back to the failure of K-12 education. "If the states were meeting their obligation to ensure that students in K-12 were meeting the challenging standards set during the past decade, most of the problems that the community colleges are facing in terms remediation and poor retention would not exist," he said.

This article appeared on www.tc.columbia.edu/news on June 27th, 2006.
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