States

New England to Promote College Readiness

By Alyson Klein — May 02, 2006 3 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Worried about the possible shrinkage of their educated workforces in coming decades, the New England states have joined together on a new initiative aimed at preparing more students to tackle college.

Governors of all six states in the region and public university officials have signed on to the goals embraced by the project, called College Ready New England. They include raising high school graduation rates, bolstering college readiness among high school graduates, and increasing college enrollment and college-completion rates. The New England Board of Higher Education, a Boston-based nonprofit the six states founded in the 1950s, is administering the program.

“This is a commitment on the part of six states to work as one,” said Stephen J. Reno, the chancellor of the University System of New Hampshire. “We’re holding each others’ feet to the fire.”

The initiative is part of a national trend aimed at aligning K-12 schools more closely with higher education to prepare students for the growing number of careers that require a bachelor’s or associate’s degree, said Michael K. Thomas, the director of College Ready New England. He said the program represents the first regional approach to those issues.

Vermont on April 19 became the first state to launch the program. The other five—Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island—will follow in coming months, Mr. Thomas said. New England’s population growth over the next decade is likely to be low or stagnant, according to Mr. Thomas. He said a higher percentage of students in the region will enter high school from racial- and ethnic-minority groups, who typically graduate from high school and college at lower rates than their peers.

The initiative will help states work together to keep New England economically competitive in the face of such demographic shifts, he said, by providing a forum to share resources, best practices, and research to increase the number of college graduates.

For example, states could use the project as a means to design outreach campaigns, such as television commercials touting the benefits of a higher education.

Mr. Thomas said each state will draft its own policies to meet the goals outlined by the initiative. Still, the project plans to release recommendations for states to consider, which could include requiring students to take a college-preparatory curriculum in order to graduate from high school and calling for 10th graders to take the PSAT exam.

Raising Awareness

States in the region have already begun to consider ways to implement the program. New Hampshire plans to expand a program called Project Mentor, in which college sophomores commit to spending three years serving as an academic role model for a middle school student.

Other policymakers hope the initiative will help them advance proposals already in the works. Gov. Jim Douglas of Vermont, a Republican, hopes to align it with a 15-year, $175 million state scholarship program that provides grants to Vermont students who go to college and spend the first three years of their careers in the state. If they leave before that time, they must repay the money.

Lawmakers generally favor the proposal, but some question Gov. Douglas’ plan to use money from the 1998 multistate legal settlement with the tobacco industry to pay for it, said state Rep. Timothy Jerman, a Democrat, who is working on the state’s version of College Ready New England.

Rep. Jerman said that whether or not Vermont chooses to enact the governor’s scholarship proposal, the regional initiative will help the state to raise awareness about the importance of going to college.

A version of this article appeared in the May 03, 2006 edition of Education Week as New England to Promote College Readiness

Events

Classroom Technology Webinar Building Better Blended Learning in K-12 Schools
The pandemic and the increasing use of technology in K-12 education it prompted has added renewed energy to the blended learning movement as most students are now learning in school buildings (and will likely continue

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

States Education Can Be a Winning Path for GOP, Says Incoming Virginia Governor
A newcomer to politics, Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin won in a strongly Democratic state by tapping into culture war fights over school curricula.
3 min read
Gov. Doug Ducey of Arizona, left, speaks to reporters while Gov.-elect Glen Youngkin, of Virginia, Govs. Greg Abbott, of Texas, and Kim Reynolds and Pete Ricketts, of Nebraska, listen at the Republican Governors Association meeting in Phoenix on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021. Governors, donors and strategists were riding high on Youngkin’s victory this month in a state Democratic President Joe Biden won by 10 points. (AP Photo/Jonathan J. Cooper)
States How a Website to Complain About Teachers Is Fueling the Critical Race Theory Fight
It was pitched as an effort to strengthen anti-discrimination laws, but critics say it aims to reject any discussion of systemic racism.
2 min read
Frank Edelblut speaks at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. on Jan. 31, 2017, during a public hearing on his nomination to lead the state's education department. As first-term Gov. Chris Sununu builds out his cabinet of commissioners, he's tapped some appointees with little to no professional experience in the departments they're tasked with leading. For education, he tapped Edelblut, a businessman who homeschooled his children.
Frank Edelblut speaks at the Statehouse in Concord, N.H. on Jan. 31, 2017, during a public hearing on his nomination to lead the state's education department. As first-term Gov. Chris Sununu builds out his cabinet of commissioners, he's tapped some appointees with little to no professional experience in the departments they're tasked with leading. For education, he tapped Edelblut, a businessman who homeschooled his children.
Elise Amendola/AP Photo
States Opinion 5 Takeaways for Education From Virginia's Governor Race
In an election where K-12 schooling was widely seen as the central issue, Glenn Youngkin’s victory has important implications for schools.
5 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
States Anxiety Over Schools Fired Up Voters This Year. What About 2022?
Election results from Virginia, New Jersey, and elsewhere suggest educators and schools will be firmly in the spotlight next year.
10 min read
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin holds a broom as he greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., early Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, after he defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe.
Virginia Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, holds a broom as he greets supporters at an election night party in Chantilly, Va., after he defeated Democratic challenger Terry McAuliffe.
Andrew Harnik/AP