The College Puzzle Blog
Prior PostingsAbout
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.

Spellings Loses on Push To Enhance College Quality

Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings tried to use the federal process of college accreditation to receive federal financial aid as a lever to focus accreditation on student outcomes such as college completion. Unfortunatley, she lost when Republicans abandoned her, and neither of the higher education reauthorization bills takes a more aggresive stance on accreditation. Colleges need incentives to increase student persistence and completion. Now many can just churn students and keep afloat financially.
Spellings tried to beef up accreditation through the federal regulatory process and bypass Congress. She stressed that no standardized tests would be used , but many legislators may not have believed her. There are some voluntary moves by some colleges to focus accreditation more on student outcomes, but little is likely to change. Only 24 % of community college students in Ca. complete any certificate or degree/transfer program after six years, and numerous four year colleges graduate less than half their students after 10 years.

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