Recently in Community Colleges Category
Oct 26 2011Not a Teen Anymore...
With my college graduation quickly approaching, I've become more aware of myself as an adult within society rather than just a teenager or college student. Thinking in such terms, however, has brought about an onslaught of questions and topics of consideration. As an intern with The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, I've found myself focusing my attention on the "teen" part of our mission. And while the prevention of teen pregnancy presents a constant battle within this country, I can't help but wonder, what about those young women and students once they turn 20?
Aug 29 2011Back to School: Don't Forget Teen Pregnancy Prevention!
With the Labor Day holiday weekend fast approaching, this is the time when parents and young people are making the "back-to-school" transition, both to high school and college. Many college students are already deep into their new class schedules and adjusting to new roommates and meal plans. For many, the transition from high school senior to college freshman will bring a lot of excitement and new challenges.
As a parent who took her first son to college a week ago, I couldn't help but think about what lies ahead for my 18-year-old. As my son settles in to the routine of campus life, he has already begun to focus on attending classes, late-night studying, making new friends, his spot on the men's tennis team, and enjoying "fine dining" on campus--all while moving from adolescence to young adulthood, away from the security of home--as he should. I couldn't help but notice that other students were also settling in to their routines. How different life would be for him and his classmates if they also had to juggle the demands of parenthood. Unplanned pregnancy increases the risk of dropping out or stopping out of college--61% of women who have children after enrolling in community college fail to finish their degree, which is 65% higher than the rate for those who didn't have children.
Jul 26 2011Community Colleges Take on Unplanned Pregnancy to Improve Student Success
There is broad agreement that for the U.S. to remain competitive, we need to increase the number of college graduates in this country. As a report for the Lumina Foundation (PDF) explains, this means both increasing the number of students who enter college in the first place and increasing the proportion of college students who graduate.
Piles of research, commissions, reforms, and initiatives confirm that doing either of these things defies simple or single solutions. However, an early or unplanned pregnancy is one factor that clearly contributes to fewer students finishing high school and in turn entering college. Having a baby as a teen is a key reason why girls drop out of high school. Add a second child to the mix and even finishing a GED, let alone college, is very difficult. Only 40% of teen moms finish high school and only 2% go on to complete college by age 30 (PDF). If the statistics don't grab you, perhaps this story about one young woman's struggle will.
For students who make it to college, an unplanned pregnancy can derail their success--especially at the community college level. Sixty-one percent of women who have children after enrolling in community college do not finish their education (PDF)--a rate 65% higher than for those who don't have children.
So what to do? Again, there's no magic bullet, but some community colleges are trying innovative ways to improve completion by helping students avoid unplanned pregnancy. As part of the American Association of Community Colleges' Make It Personal: College Completion project, some pioneering faculty are incorporating discussions about pregnancy planning, prevention and healthy relationships into their courses in all sorts of creative ways. Check out the brand new video above (or you can view it on YouTube) to hear how this is going and how talking about these issues can engage students and help them succeed.
And let us know what you think!
Jul 19 2011An Education: Young Men of Color and Obstacles to Educational Attainment
These days we live in a world where higher education is often pushed to the nth degree. Over the past few years of economic struggle in the U.S., we have seen how even recent college grads must choose to go further into debt by returning to grad school, move back in with their parents to save money, or take unpaid internships hoping to gain some experience until the job market turns around. It's been said by some experts that "the period of young adulthood is to the 21st century what adolescence was to the 20th century."
While I personally have seen many examples of this, it makes me think about the many young adults in this country who don't have the option to just "wait" for the economy to right itself. What if you don't have parents who are able and/or willing to take you in and support you until you can find work? What if you can't afford to pursue a higher degree or didn't have the opportunity to finish high school in the first place? What if you are an 18-year-old high school dropout struggling to make ends meet and living day-to-day, wondering how you are going to support yourself and your family until you get your next paycheck, or even your next job?
Jun 13 2011Teen Pregnancy Prevention and Education Reform: Like Peanut Butter and Jelly
Like the Bush Administration, President Obama's Administration has made the high school dropout crisis and preparing students for a 21st century workforce core elements of education reform. Better graduation rates mean more college-ready students and a stronger workforce, which in turns improves our nation's chances to compete globally.
A recent analysis of high school completion from the Editorial Projects in Education Research Center found that the national graduation rate stands at 71.7 percent for the class of 2008, the most recent year for which data are available. The highest level of graduation for the nation's public high schools since the 1980s, this result also marks a significant turnaround following two consecutive years of declines and stagnation.
While this modest improvement is somewhat heartening, the fact is that too many students continue to fall through the cracks of America's high schools. It is expected that nearly 1.2 million students from the 2011 high school class will fail to graduate with a diploma. That amounts to 6,400 students dropping out each day of the year. The crisis is even more severe among minority students. Only about half of African American and Latino students graduate from high school and only 10 percent of minority students who enroll in college will graduate.