Yesterday the U.S. Department of Education hosted a Community College Symposium at Montgomery College in Silver Spring, MD. This was the last in a series of events, including four regional summits, focused on community colleges led by the Department and Dr. Jill Biden. The symposium featured panels that presented preliminary findings on four issue briefs focused on:
- bridge programs for low-skill adults,
- alignment of secondary and postsecondary CTE,
- developmental education, and
- postsecondary-employer partnerships.
In speaking about aligning secondary and postsecondary education, the panelists pointed out that the transition from high school to postsecondary is troublesome for many youth, and that many drop out after only one semester. They acknowledged that CTE is leading the way in the effort to align learner levels, but that alignment must be a broader part of general education in order to better serve all students. Among the successful ways in which CTE accommodates transitions are Tech Prep, Career Clusters, career pathways, and programs of study.
The panelists also mentioned the Common Core State Standards as a way to better align high school standards with postsecondary entrance requirements. However, this is not happening in most states, and would require more collaboration between secondary and postsecondary. Dual enrollment was also talked about as an effective strategy to increase communication and alignment between high schools and colleges.