With the recent federal policy emphasis aimed at improving college and university graduation rates led by Secretary of Education Arnie Duncan and the recently launched system-wide “Graduation Initiative” announced by the California State University (CSU), public institutions throughout the nation are beginning to face a more advanced set of accountability standards than in the past.
For California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), graduation of students has been the primary objective over the last five years. In fact, when considering comparable public universities nationwide,CSULB’s progress in helping students move toward graduation places the university among the top degree producers in all student categories, especially among under-represented minority groups.
Under pressure, the state’s 188 persistently lowest performing schools are trying to play catch up to better test scores for students by implementing tough new federal intervention measures.
Out of the state’s 10,000 public schools, San Bernardino Unified School District came in strong at the bottom five percent with 11 of its schools on a lowest achieving list. They must be brought up to academic par soon.
States are now scrambling in different ways to fix the problem. Not long ago, California was turned down for $1 billion, part of a $4.35 billion federal national allocation of Phase 1 Race to the Top funding.
Being first in line is nothing new for longtime trailblazing educational advocate, Dr. Mildred Henry.
At Cal State University in San Bernardino, she was the first African American to be tenured in the School of Education, where she was also the first African American to get full professorship, and the first African American to get Professor Emeritus status there.
Later, she pulled away from the “Ivory Tower” mentality around academic theories to put some of her own down-to-earth methods into action. As the first person to charter a school in the history of San Bernardino City Schools, Dr. Henry helped pave the way for teens to graduate even from the hardest low-income areas.
Cal Poly Pomona has been named to the 2009 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.
The Corporation for National and Community Service, which administers the annual award, recognized colleges and universities for their impact on issues such as poverty, homelessness and environmental justice.
At Cal Poly Pomona, the Center for Community Service-Learning coordinates a number of on-going volunteer activities, such as the Homework Help Center at the Pomona Public Library, the Youth Storytelling Mentorship Program at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Pomona Valley and JusticeCorps internships at self-help legal access centers. The annual volunteer fair last spring drew 42 community organizations and 350 students.
Parents are invited to learn more about Carden Virtual Academy, a new high tech charter school starting in San Bernardino in August in San Bernardino. The school will educate students in grades Kindergarten through the 12th year.
An information session is set for Thursday, March 25, at the Feldheym Library at 5:30 p.m. The library is located at 555 West Fifth Street in San Bernardino.
“We will make learning exciting for students,” said Tim Smith, executive director of the Academy. “They will not only learn critical academic skills, but we also will help them develop character and confidence.”