The Bottom 70 Percent: What America's Elite Institutions of Higher Learning Owe to Everyone Else
On February 24th, 2009 President Obama issued a bold call for America to regain its former position as having the most college-educated workforce in the world. To reach that goal, we will have to go where student enrollment is high but graduation rates are low -- the public, non-selective two- and four-year institutions that enroll the majority of America's college students (the "bottom" seventy percent) but often struggle to help students earn degrees. Marginalized in the public discourse and disadvantaged by state funding schemes that favor selective research universities, these institutions have been tasked with educating the most academically at-risk students and yet they have received the fewest resources to do so. Many of these institutions also suffer from poor management and low expectations all around. What can we really expect from community colleges and non-selective, public universities? And what should they expect of us?
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