Chancellor's Recent Speeches
Remarks by Dr. Charles B. Reed
Thank you, Alex (Gonzalez).
One thing I have believed throughout all of my years in higher education is that colleges and universities cannot operate in isolation. The strength of our country's educational system relies on the strength of the K-20 pipeline. That means that we have to strengthen each piece along the way - and we have to make sure that the transitions are solid.
So when we look at the current situation, it is not a question of whether higher education must help the public schools, it is a question of how we can help them. And even if we are doing something to help these students, we are clearly not doing enough.
At the CSU, we have a situation where more than half of our incoming students need some form of remedial education. These are not failing students, by the way. These are students who maintained a "B" average and met all of our admissions requirements.
We've been working to address this issue on several fronts:
First, we publish a "Steps To College" poster for middle and high school students. This poster gives students a step-by-step guide to preparing for college, starting in the 6th grade. We have distributed more than half a million copies of this poster to middle schools and high schools all around the state. We have also been working with members of the community, asking them to help us circulate this poster so that it hangs on every bedroom wall of every middle and high school student.
Second, we have developed an 11th grade test called the Early Assessment Program or EAP. We worked with the California Department of Education and State Board of Education to create this test, which is embedded in the 11th grade California Standards Tests. It is designed to give students an "early signal" about their college readiness.
Once they take this test, students have the opportunity to do any additional preparation that they need to do for college while in the 12th grade. This test is voluntary, so we are working to motivate students to elect to take this test. In the long run, having this information will help them on the road to college and it will save them time and money.
Third, we have developed support for K-12 schools and students that goes hand in hand with the EAP test:
We're also looking for support from the federal government. In fact, we are meeting with congressional leaders and others on the hill later this week on issues relating to the Higher Education Act reauthorization.
Among the items we will be calling for are early intervention and outreach programs such as GEAR-UP and TRIO, and increases to the Pell Grant program for financial aid.
Asking for Community Support
Also we are turning to our communities for support in reaching K-12 students directly.
Last month the CSU system held an event with African-American community leaders at West Angeles Church in Los Angeles to talk more about how we can reach students in their communities.
We told them that every action can help - tutoring, scholarships, donating time or resources, spending time with students and lending encouragement, and sharing your own successes.
We are currently planning more such events, including a forum for Latino leaders.
Bottom line - our colleges and universities need to take the initiative. We need to be creative. And we simply cannot afford to be passive when it comes to our future students.
I hope that all of our colleges and universities will find more ways to be creative and to reach students at this critical stage.
Thank you very much.