Community Colleges On America’s Front Line

American community colleges say they’re on the front line of holding together an unravelling society. We’ll get the message.

Students at the Bunker Hill Community College "LifeMap Lab" on the Boston-area college's campus. (Courtesy Bunker Hill Community College)

Students at the Bunker Hill Community College “LifeMap Lab” on the Boston-area college’s campus. (Courtesy Bunker Hill Community College)

An awful lot of America’s biggest challenges these days run through the humble institution of America’s community colleges.  K-12 education falling short?  Let community colleges retrofit.  Industry needs job training?  Call the community college.  Higher education too expensive?  Go to a community college.  Worried about inequality?  Pray community colleges will build a floor under the workforce.  Where America unravels, community colleges knit, or try to.  This hour On Point:  community college leaders from across the country on their “hold it together” role now.

– Tom Ashbrook


Pam Eddinger, president of Bunker Hill Community College. (@PamEddinger)

Bruce Leslie, chancellor of Alamo Colleges. (@AlamoColleges1)

Paul Brown, president of the Zane State College in Zansesville, Ohio.

From Tom’s Reading List

Times Higher Education Supplement: US rural community colleges hit by economic upturn — “US rural community colleges face a battle to survive in the face of declining state funding and falling enrollment, an expert has warned.J. Noah Brown, president and chief executive officer of the Association of Community College Trustees, told Times Higher Education in a podcast interview that the ‘huge increase’  in community college enrolment during the recession had ceased, leaving many institutions at risk of closure.”

Washington Monthly: America’s Best Community Colleges 2013 — “Today, community colleges remain a pillar of the American system of higher learning, with more than a million new freshmen—42 percent of the total—starting their college careers in a two-year institution every year. Politicians love to praise their salt-of-the-earth qualities, including President Barack Obama, who began his administration with bold promises to invest in the two-year sector.”

The Hechinger Report: New figures suggest community college grad rates higher than thought — “Of the estimated one in four students who start at community colleges and then move on to four-year institutions, more than 60 percent ultimately graduate, the National Student Clearinghouse reports. And another 8 percent who haven’t finished haven’t dropped out, the study says; they’re still enrolled. The revelation suggests that the proportion of community college students who successfully complete their educations is higher than the dismal 18 percent the U.S. Department of Education calculates finish their two-year degrees within three years.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Oct 9, 2015
A manhole begins to spill over with floodwaters as high tide approaches at Dorchester Road at Sawmill Branch Canal in Summerville, S.C., Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.  (AP)

Russia goes big in Syria. The US hits a hospital in Kunduz. Hillary flips on the TPP. An epic flood in South Carolina. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 9, 2015
In this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2015, photo, Devlin D'Zmura, a tending news manager at DraftKings, a daily fantasy sports company, works on his laptop at the company's offices in Boston. (AP)

Fantasy football scandal, and the wild, booming betting world of fantasy sports.

Oct 8, 2015
US singer Patti Smith performs during the Way Out West music festival in Gothenburg, Sweden, Saturday, Aug.15, 2015.  (AP)

Iconic rocker, poet of punk, and National Book Award-winning author Patti Smith joins us to talk about her new memoir, “M Train”.

Oct 8, 2015
In this Aug. 2, 2012 file photo, local newspapers show stories about the controversial strategy to bail the government out of a financial hole, at a restaurant along Seven Mile Beach on the outskirts of George Town on the Cayman Islands. The Cayman Islands have lost some of their allure by abruptly proposing what amounts to an income tax on expatriate workers who have helped build the territory into one of the most famous or, for some people, notorious offshore banking centers that have tax advantages for foreign investment operations. (AP)

Trillions of dollars are now stashed in protected tax havens around the world, leaving societies’ bills to those at home. We’ll dig in.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Rep. Daniel Webster: ‘I’m Gonna Sell This Message’
Tuesday, Oct 6, 2015

When House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced his retirement and resignation from his position last month, it surprised both his Party and the Washington political establishment.

More »
Our Week In The Web: October 2, 2015
Friday, Oct 2, 2015

We say hello again to our email address (since so many of you did this week) and goodbye to the Log Lady.

More »
Interview With Sen. Bernie Sanders: ‘Count Me As A Radical’
Thursday, Oct 1, 2015

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is making waves in the 2016 Presidential race, and he joined us today from the US Capitol to explain how his campaign message is connecting with voters around the country.

More »