2013: A Year in Review

January 30th, 2014
2021 Michele Siqueiros 250x250(1)
Michele Siqueiros

January 29, 2013 | Written by: Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director, Campaign for College Opportunity

Happy New Year! 2014 is special to us as it marks our tenth anniversary as an independent and committed voice for expanding college access and improving college success in California. This milestone is meaningful not simply as a marker in passage of time, but because we have been able to accomplish much in our short history. And you played an important role.

I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of our key accomplishments in 2013. With the loss of our co-founder, Steve Weiner, this was a bitter sweet year. His passing in April was devastating to his family and to all of us who knew him. As you may have already read in my eulogy to Steve, he was a powerful force in my life. Steve was steadfast in working towards improving higher education so that all students could have the opportunities afforded to him, and so that California would remain a powerful economic force. Our work moving forward is a dedication to ensure his vision becomes a reality.

In 2013, we celebrated another key policy victory with passage of Senate Bill 440 by Senator Alex Padilla to strengthen community college transfer reform and build upon our historic victory in 2010 with passage of the Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act. We also saw better budget allocations from the state to our community colleges and universities, thanks to additional resources from voter approved Prop 30 – but certainly not sufficient to fill the deep cuts of the previous four years. Implementation efforts of the Community College Student Success recommendations which have produced a first of its kind scorecard for each community college that details performance by race and ethnicity, give us hope. Additional reforms to expand college orientation, educational plans, and student supports are also forthcoming and we know these help students do better in community college.

This year we released groundbreaking research as part of our new series on The State of Higher Education in California and a report on the working poor, Working Hard, Left Behind – both use demographic data to highlight the urgency of doing better to support greater educational attainment for low income and students of color.

The naming of Janet Napolitano as the new University of California President completed the new trio of leaders for our public colleges and universities. President Napolitano joins California State University Chancellor White and Community College Chancellor Harris –we are glad to have been joined by over 20 prominent community and business leaders in articulating some of the key priorities we hope they will tackle, and that we have met with each of them personally to press for these priorities.

As we continue to build our strong statewide network of coalition partners across California, we were also grateful to add a few key members to our Board of Directors including: Pam David, Darline Robles, Lisa Smith, Rory O’Sullivan and Camila Chavez. For the first time ever, we also established a new Senior Faculty Advisory Body made up of 23 state and national experts in higher education that have agreed to help inform and advise our policy research. They join a powerful list of 30 Advisory Board members that are actively engaged in moving our mission forward. Their collective expertise is a tremendous asset.

In 2014, we will continue to monitor the implementation of historic transfer reform and the student success task force recommendations. We will continue pressing the legislature and Governor to develop a clear and intentional plan that establishes benchmarks for improving access and completion and closing gaps between students of color and their white peers in higher education.

Next month we will release new reports on the real cost of college based on time to completion, an analyses on student loans and debt for Californians, and a draft public agenda that can inform a new plan for higher education in our state. In March, we will take these reports on a 14 city tour to gather feedback and support for solutions that will culminate with a Higher Education Summit in the summer. And of course we will celebrate 10 years of our work to improve California higher education with an anniversary event honoring California’s higher education champions. We hope you will continue to join us in highlighting the importance of ensuring that more Californians have the opportunity to go to college and succeed.

Thank you for supporting the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Wishing you a wonderful 2014!

About the Author:

Michele Siqueiros is the Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

To read her complete bio, click here. Follow her on Twitter @MSCollegeOpp