Scaling Up PTR: Shining a Light on Equity & Inclusion, Addressing Challenges

by Ann Jones / Apr 8, 2013

It’s not ‘rocket surgery,’ it is not magic, and there is not a secret sauce. We must create pathways and put together processes to address the equity gaps in our system of education. We must stop blaming the students and start fixing the systems that are not serving their needs.”

– James Applegate

The Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) hosted the Scaling Up Pathways to Results conference on March 7, 2013. Two hundred fifty people from high schools, community colleges, state and other agencies attended the one day event, learning about Pathways to Results (PTR), programs of study, college and career readiness, curriculum alignment and mapping, data and ethics, partnerships, and more. James Applegate, Vice President for Strategic Impact at Lumina Foundation, was the keynote speaker. During his talk, Goal 2025:the Illinois Challenge, Dr. Applegate shared statistics that are familiar to educators but can also be disheartening. Those in the United States with a high school degree or less lost 5.6 million jobs in the recession, 1 out of 5 individuals that start college will finish, only 11% of young people from the lowest income quartile will have a B.A. by age 24 (Applegate, 2013). The list could, and does, go on.

For Illinois to be successful, Dr. Applegate stressed that educators must create specific pathways for students that focus on access and success. It isn’t enough to get students into a community college or university; there must be processes in place to assure completion of a certificate, 2-year or 4-year credential. According to Dr. Applegate, pathways need to be created for both traditional college-age students and the adult populations returning to post-secondary education.

Despite the alarming statistics, Dr. Applegate’s message offered hope, citing successful processes and programs, including many that are being used and evaluated here at OCCRL (e.g., Pathways to Results, Adult Career Pathways, College and Career Readiness, Credit When It’s Due, and more). His remarks also included recommendations for ways that Illinois could change the educational system, if it takes on the challenge of addressing equity and outcomes gaps head on.