ERIC Number: EJ930677
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Jun-4
Reference Count: N/A
Are We Ready for Charter Colleges?
Sjogren, Jane; Fay, James
New England Journal of Higher Education, Jun 2010
Community colleges are under increasing pressure today from a number of directions. Student demand is at an all-time high, fueled by demographics, student and employer need for new and increased skills; structural changes in labor markets have pushed the under- or unemployed to community colleges to acquire new job skills; and students who would have gone to four-year colleges are drawn to the lower-priced community colleges. At the same time, community colleges face significant limitations in resources and institutional flexibility, as state and local aid has failed keep up with current needs, much less allow for growth. Another serious handicap faced by community colleges is that state regulations on these two-year institutions, particularly in bellwether states like California, remain considerably more restrictive than they are for four-year institutions, while extensive and inflexible work rules limit institutional flexibility. Even as recent U.S. presidents have urged Americans to obtain education beyond high school, community colleges are roundly criticized for lackluster student persistence and low graduation rates despite the fact that the proportion of entering students needing remedial work continues to increase. Finally, one doesn't really know how well community colleges are doing their job because, with few exceptions, there are no meaningful measures of student performance. One way forward from this situation may be to apply a reform that is bringing improvement to K-12 schools around the nation: the charter school movement, in which educational entrepreneurs and stakeholders establish and operate new schools for their communities. This article discusses what a community college might do to directly address the needs of its students and measurably improve student success if it had the option to operate as a charter school. The charter school model supports the best aspects of today's community colleges and provides opportunity to improve their performance as they face increasing challenges and demands.
Descriptors: Charter Schools, Community Colleges, Elementary Secondary Education, Colleges, Academic Persistence, Institutions, Educational Change, Higher Education, Academic Achievement, Entrepreneurship, Educational Quality, Nontraditional Education, Evaluation
New England Board of Higher Education. 45 Temple Place, Boston, MA 02111. Tel: 617-357-9620; Fax: 617-338-1577; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www.nebhe.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education; Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A