The College Puzzle Blog
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Dr. Michael W. Kirst

Michael W. Kirst is Professor Emeritus of Education and Business Administration at Stanford University since 1969.
Dr. Kirst received his Ph.D. in political economy and government from Harvard. Before joining the Stanford University faculty, Dr. Kirst held several positions with the federal government, including Staff Director of the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Manpower, Employment and Poverty. He was a former president of the California State Board of Education. His book From High School to College with Andrea Venezia was published by Jossey Bass in 2004.

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My blog discusses the important and complex subjects of college completion, college success, student risk factors (for failing), college readiness, and academic preparation. I will explore the pieces of the college puzzle that heavily influence, if not determine, college success rates.

Improving Rates of College Completion Requires Teamwork

This week, the Chronicle of Higher Education offers a good overview of the fundamental causes of and solutions for the lack of college preparation.

The opinion piece by Michael Cohen et al entitled A Coordinated Effort to Prepare Students for College stresses that high schools cannot solve under preparation alone. They need help from postsecondary education through a joint effort.

Inadequate college preparedness is particularly acute for first- generation students who lack college support, particularly from family. Often these students must work and consequently have a time management problem. They attend community colleges and do not stay in school year round.

Fortunately, there are foundation initiatives to help secondary schools and colleges work together. The Lumina Foundation is funding Achieving the Dream that will help build student commitment to learning and overcome bad predictors for college completion. The Ford Foundation has a new venture Community College Bridges to Opportunity Initiative that focuses upon family support and adult learners. Finally, the Met Life Foundation Initiative on Student Success has recognized sixteen community colleges that have succeeded with first generation students, overcome low-completion student predictors, and improved time management.

Both high school and colleges must work together to significantly enhance the academic preparation and commitment to learning of future and current college students.


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