Why College for All?

Why is college for all important?

To be clear, Ramp-Up to Readiness™ define “college” broadly to include any postsecondary school where students can earn a certificate or degree. College includes technical school, apprenticeships, military, and two and four-year colleges and universities. Why “college for all?” There are several arguments to be made in support of this notion.

One argument is based on equity. For a long time, college attendance could be predicted by such arbitrary factors such as gender, race, parents’ income and education levels, and even students’ zip codes. Over time many students who could be earning a college degree have been left behind. School systems must embrace college for all, therefore, simply because it is unethical to do otherwise. We may fall short of the goal of 100% of our students earning a college degree or other postsecondary credential but we ought to prepare them for the opportunity.

Another argument can be framed in terms borrowed from the economic concept of supply and demand. Efforts to increase the supply of academic rigor available to students may only succeed if they are met by increased student demand for that rigor. Without that demand, far too many students will not elect to take or to work hard in courses that will best prepare them for postsecondary success.

Many schools are diligently working to increase the supply of academic rigor they make available to students. For example, they are greatly increasing the number of dual credit courses they offer—from Advanced Placement to International Baccalaureate, postsecondary enrollment, and College-in-the-Schools programs. When all students are expected to go to college it raises students’ demand for academic rigor by ensuring that all students understand that what they do in school today will impact their opportunities tomorrow.

An additional argument is that our nation’s economic continued success and competitiveness depends on a highly educated populace. Yet, the U.S. has now fallen behind many other countries in high school and college completion rates, which has negative implications for individuals as well as for our democratic society. 1

On top of that, Anthony Carnevale, a research professor and director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce argues that the U.S. “has maxed out on the benefits it can get from its 80-percent high-school-graduation rate,” and thus "all the returns to the economy are coming from higher education now. Our ability to expand that is key." 2

For the reasons indicated above, Ramp-Up to Readiness is uniquely intended to help all students in a school develop a college-going mindset, embrace rigor, gain access, maintain motivation, and practice persistence. The program is envisioned as the base of a pyramid of interventions that together constitute a school-wide approach to college and career readiness. Other interventions for targeted groups of students who need additional college and career readiness support can work in concert with Ramp-Up.

  1. Retrieved from http://www.businessinsider.com/r-us-falls-behind-in-college-competition-oecd-2014-9 on September 11, 2017

  2. Retrieved from http://www.chronicle.com/article/When-College-Was-a-Public-Good/238501 on September 13, 2017.

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