If colleges want more of their students to be ready for the academic challenges of higher education, then those institutions have to take a more direct role in elementary and secondary education, recommends a new report from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.
The report, written by a dozen college presidents and released here at the association's annual meeting, calls on its member campuses to begin preparing students as early as preschool, helping children to acquire the building blocks of a successful academic career. And to have the greatest impact, the report says, colleges should focus on areas with high concentrations of poverty, where children have the greatest disadvantages in academic preparation.
"Education is like a pyramid: Each level rests on what came before," says the report. "Any weakness in a child's educational development jeopardizes all that follows, and gains made at an early age continue to benefit the child in future years."
Specifically, the report recommends four approaches that every member campus should be involved in: improving teacher-preparation programs, increasing the availability of dual-credit classes, aligning elementary and secondary curricula with college expectations, and giving high schools reports on how their graduates are performing in college.
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