The U.S. postsecondary education system provides students with many flexible pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree. One of the most important of these is the opportunity to start a degree at a community college and transfer to a four-year degree program. Community colleges provide access to postsecondary education in diverse geographies (urban, rural, suburban), are open access and low cost, and offer an array of programs and credentials focused on both immediate employment and subsequent degree attainment through transfer to a four-year institution.1 However, while nearly 80 percent of community college students say they intend to transfer and eventually earn bachelor’s degrees,2 actual transfer and degree completion rates are a challenge: only 16 percent of students who start in community colleges ultimately earn bachelor’s degrees within six years, with lower rates for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.3 Addressing this gap can help save students time and money in getting a degree, and will help diversify baccalaureate pathways because over half of students of color and low-income students start in the two-year sector.4 The latter is especially important in the wake of the recent Supreme Court ruling severely limiting the use of race in college admissions. The U.S. Department of Education (Department) has developed a resource guide for states and institutions to identify key strategies to improve the transfer system and completion rates.5
By: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
Democracy thrives when there is a well-educated and informed citizenry. Raising the Bar in education means that every student is provided with a well-rounded education, and that includes creating opportunities to learn deeply about American history, understand the U.S. Constitution and how our system of government works, and build the skills required to engage in the democratic process. From a student perspective, understanding civics education can create agency in being able to shape the world around us and build a better society. Educators play an important role in creating environments to engage in robust discussions and innovate in activities to learn about civics. The U.S. Department of Education recently announced awards for two grants that will strengthen American History and Civics:
Educators and students, don’t forget to tap into one of your best resources as you begin this school year…your school librarian!
By: Catherine Mcconnell, Policy Advisor Office of Career, Technical and Adult Education, US Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education is excited to join manufacturers, workers, educators, students, and families across our nation in celebrating National Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing is essential to our country’s vitality: it sparks creativity, fuels global competitiveness, brings dreams and ideas to life, and helps spread and scale innovation. Advanced manufacturing—which leverages leading-edge technology in clean and modern environments, —is a rapidly growing and in-demand industry across the country. With tremendous opportunities to create our future and the significant impact manufacturing has on our economy, we need more young people and adults to envision their future in manufacturing. Over the last two years, the U.S. economy has added 830,000 manufacturing jobs, with estimates that we will have more than two million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2030.
Earlier this month, we celebrated National Arts in Education Week. Encompassing visual arts, music, theater, and dance, arts education is pivotal in fostering creativity, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills. The annual celebration is a time to reflect on the arts’ profound impact on student learning and development and an opportunity to help ensure even more students have access to arts education.
By: Jessica Ramakis, Director, Grants Policy Office, Office of Planning Evaluation and Policy Development, and Matthew Soldner, Commissioner, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences & Evaluation Officer, U.S. Department of Education
The U.S. Department of Education (ED) strives to support the education community–including families, students, educators, State and local government agencies, Institutions of Higher Education, and local partners–in the work of continuous improvement of education. ED is a leader across government in using and building evidence about “what works” in education, and we appreciate the thoughtful work of our grantees, contractors, and other partners that provide support in advancing this work.
By: Ji Soo Song, Digital Equity Advisor, Office of Educational Technology and Elena Saltzman, Director of Campaigns, Civic Nation
Last month, as part of Back to School Bus Tour 2023: Raise the Bar, Secretary Cardona held a roundtable discussion in Kansas City, KS about broadband connectivity with FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel. During this event with local superintendents and community-based organizations, Secretary Cardona emphasized it’s the internet’s critical role in expanding educational opportunities, supporting access to services, and creating pathways for full participation in the economy.
By: Naomi Stern, Federation of American Scientists Environmental Sustainability and Infrastructure Impact Fellow, U.S. Department of Education
This September, I had the honor of participating in the 2023 Green Strides Tour in California. As a fellow with the U.S. Department of Education, I knew that the schools and districts we would visit represent diverse examples of how sustainability is implemented. I was excited to see schools in my home state of California that have embedded sustainability across their school operations, resulting in improved learning and health conditions. Along the way, I encountered unparalleled passion, enthusiasm, and dedication on the part of entire school communities.
By: Montserrat Garibay, Assistant Deputy Secretary and Director, Office of English Language Acquisition
I clearly remember my first day of middle school as a newly arrived student from Mexico in Austin, Texas, I didn’t speak a word of English and was nervous to start a new life with my mother and sister. My first class looked like the United Nations, students from all over the world speaking different languages, we were shy and scared. It wasn’t until, our ESL teacher, Mrs. Hernandez welcomed us with a big smile that I knew
t I was going to be fine. My feelings were confirmed when I heard her speak Spanish.
By: Office of Elementary and Secondary Education
National and State data sets released over the past several weeks underscore the need for urgent, collective action to improve regular school attendance. While the latest data reflect the 2021-22 school year, when impacts of the pandemic were much more acute, it is important to note that rates of chronic absenteeism – defined as missing at least 10% of school days, or usually around 18 days of school each year – were increasing even before the pandemic. Since chronic absenteeism includes both excused and unexcused absences, multiple interconnected factors may contribute to the challenge; these include transportation barriers, students’ physical and mental health, or housing instability. We must raise the bar for consistent school attendance and work together to combat chronic absenteeism.