New Campaign Urges California’s Next Governor to Champion Bold Vision for Higher Education in the State

“Our California” campaign calls for a statewide attainment goal, closing racial equity gaps, and a plan for producing the 1.65 million additional degrees the state needs by 2030

Los Angeles, CA – A broad-based coalition led by The Campaign for College Opportunity launched the “Our California” campaign elevating the critical role that California’s higher education system will play in shaping the state’s economic future and calling on the next governor to develop a plan for improving college access and success. Over the next 12 years, California will need 60 percent of adults to have some college credential in order to meet growing workforce demands for college educated workers, a feat that can only be accomplished if California’s next governor commits to a statewide college attainment goal and creates the necessary plan and investments to meet that goal.

The Campaign for College Opportunity, and its coalition partners, underscore the need to adopt a 60 percent college attainment goal and to close persistent racial equity gaps in college opportunity by 2030.

“California’s candidates for governor are rightfully concerned about the economic future of the state. The best insurance we have for a brighter tomorrow is a college education for more Californians. Together with our coalition we have given the next governor an attainment and racial equity goal and a blueprint to get us there,” said Michele Siqueiros, President of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “We urge him to adopt these goals and take the necessary steps to ensure that we reach them. We won’t rest until every child in California has the ability to access and succeed in college. Our California and state’s economy depends on it.”

The new 2018 California Higher Education Report Card was released as part of the “Our California” campaign, which provides a snapshot of the progress the state is making towards reaching 60 percent attainment by 2030 and closing racial equity gaps. The report card measures the state’s progress across four critical indicators – college preparation, access, completion, and affordability – that impact the state’s ability to meet the attainment goal.

  • California receives a B+ when it comes to fully preparing high school students for college. This takes into account high school graduation rates and completion rates of the A-G curriculum with a C or better.
  • California receives a D with regards to the number of Californians going to college. This measures both the percentage of recent high school graduates as well as workforce adults that are enrolling in college
  • California receives a C on college completion, which measures the rate at which students who enroll in college successfully complete a program of study.
  • California receives a C in its ability to keep college affordable for California families. This measures takes into account the real cost burden that low-income and middle-income must take on to send their children to California’s public colleges and universities.

Overall, the state receives a C (2.07) on the progress it is making towards reaching a 60 percent attainment goal by 2030. The grade reflects many of the racial equity gaps that persist in California with regards to educational attainment, including disparities in college preparation, enrollment, and completion. The report card notes that only 34% of the state’s Latinx high school students were provided the opportunity to complete a college-ready curriculum upon graduation, only 41.6% of the state’s Latinx 18-24 year olds have the support and opportunity to enroll in college, and 82% of Latinx adults do not have a college degree. If not eliminated, these gaps will prevent the state from reaching the 60 percent attainment goal by 2030.

“To continue to thrive and lead, California must address and make serious progress in closing equity gaps in college degree completion,” said Thomas A. Saenz, MALDEF president and general counsel. “Our next governor must make this a top priority – with well-coordinated planning, committed and swift change, and significant progress – or he will fail the future of our great state.”

“California’s future economy demands an educated and highly skilled workforce. To keep California’s competitive edge, 60% of its adults must have a degree or credential, yet today, only fewer than half do,” added Rob Lapsley, President of the California Business Roundtable. “The stakes are high and we can no longer do business as usual. If we want our state to grow jobs, California’s next governor must put forth a bold new vision for higher education, one that invests in key metrics for accountability that expand college access and achieves the 60% degree attainment goal.”

Answering the urgent call for a bold vision for higher education in California, The Campaign for College Opportunity created the Our California Blueprint as a roadmap for the next governor, highlighting the types of reforms and investments that will help preserve and expand college opportunity. In addition to adopting a 60 percent attainment goal and closing racial equity gaps by 2030, the Our California campaign urges the next governor to:

  • Implement policies that improve transfer rates, reform remedial education, provide supports for adult learners, and fund colleges for both enrollment and success, among other student success driven policies;
  • Create a strong data system that pinpoints roadblocks to student success, where intervention is necessary, and where investment will pay off; and to
  • Establish a central coordinating body in higher education that can advance us towards a 60 percent attainment goal.

Over 40 organizations representing business, civil rights, and education interests have endorsed the campaign’s blueprint, including: The California Business Roundtable, civil rights activist Dolores Huerta, The James Irvine Foundation, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Student Senate for California Community Colleges, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Greater Sacramento Urban League, and UnidosUS.

“This blueprint for California Higher Education to meet the challenges of the future will fulfill Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s vision that education is the soul of the nation and the basis for a prosperous, just democracy,” stated Dolores Huerta in her endorsement.

To learn more about the Our California campaign and to watch the campaign’s video, click here.

To download the 2018 California Higher Education Report Card or the Our California Blueprint and the list of organizations who have endorsed it, please visit: http://bit.ly/OurCalifornia.

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