March 28, 2014 | Written by: Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director, Campaign for College Opportunity
For several years, the Campaign for College Opportunity has urged state policy leaders to be bold in proposing and adopting a statewide plan for higher education. California is in urgent need of a plan that sets out a vision for producing more college graduates who can fill the state’s workforce needs and for closing college-going and attainment gaps across regions and ethnic groups, by establishing targets and metrics linked to funding and policy priorities to help us achieve this vision.
On March 27th, the Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (IHELP) released a new report, “A New Vision for California Higher Education: A Model Public Agenda,” which was commissioned by the Campaign for College Opportunity.
The economic well-being of our state depends on having California develop a clear plan for higher education funding and policies that sets hard targets and metrics to increase college access, college completion, and the closing of opportunity gaps between ethnic groups and regions. IHELP’s report gives us a good foundation from which to start this work.
IHELP provides three scenarios outlining the number of additional degrees our community colleges, California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC) would need to move California closer to the goal of 2.3 million more bachelor degrees plus community college certificates and degrees that are necessary so that the state meets its workforce demand by 2025. IHELP also suggests priority performance measures and indicators of progress that we agree should be tracked as part of a statewide plan.
In addition, IHELP puts forward several ideas for improving higher education outcomes including placing regional consortiums at the center of statewide higher education planning, a proposed Office of Higher Education, and the increased use of online education to address issues of access and capacity. These ideas are not currently endorsed by the Campaign for College Opportunity but they are worthy of robust discussions as we launch a Statewide Listening Tour with community and business leaders across California next month.
We share IHELP’s belief that California must enroll and graduate more students from our public colleges and universities if we are going to meet the needs of our workforce and economy. And, although we may not endorse all aspects of IHELP’s Model Public Agenda, we are pleased that we now have a framework for discussion to help provide a foundation for the bold and necessary solutions that we must put in place in order to ensure a strong educated workforce for California’s future.
In the coming months, The Campaign will be gathering feedback on a wide set of solutions that can help inform a bold new plan for higher education in California. We encourage other stakeholders to do the same. You can access the report at www.csus.edu/ihelp and we welcome your reactions to it.
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