WASHINGTON--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan told a DeVry Inc. public policy forum today that meeting President Obama’s goal of restoring U.S. leadership in college attainment by 2020 will require the active participation of every segment of the education system, from kindergarten through college.
“The 2020 Imperative: College Attainment and U.S. Workforce Development”
“We need every segment of the education system getting better, and holding itself accountable for results,” Duncan said. Turning his focus to higher education in particular, Duncan said the nation’s ability to “educate our way to a better economy” hinges on three concepts: access, quality and completion.
He said recent reforms in student lending will help expand access; that quality can be addressed by ensuring that curricula are meeting the needs of employers; and that boosting completion rates will flow in part from more efforts by higher education institutions to provide additional academic support to students seeking degrees.
Duncan said the programs and physical capacity of private-sector higher education institutions are also vital to helping achieve the President’s goal.
“Let me be crystal clear: for-profit institutions play a vital role in training young people and adults for jobs. They are critical to helping America meet the President’s 2020 goal. They are helping us meet the explosive demand for skills that public institutions cannot always meet.”
Duncan was keynote speaker at the Washington forum, sponsored by DeVry to contribute to the public dialogue on the link between greater college attainment and ability of America’s workforce to compete successfully in the global economy.
Entitled “The 2020 Imperative: College Attainment and U.S. Workforce Development,” the event was inspired by President Obama’s call to restore America’s leadership in college attainment by 2020. The audience included representatives of higher education and workforce development groups, business associations, congressional staff and others.
A panel of education and workforce experts discussed the link between achieving this milestone and reasserting U.S. leadership in the global economy to ensure not only full recovery from the recession but also long-term economic growth.
“We commend President Obama and Secretary Duncan for their leadership. It is hard to imagine an administration more committed than this one to the idea of achieving and sustaining economic growth through education,” said Daniel Hamburger, DeVry’s president and chief executive officer.
“But if we are going to meet this goal in 10 years, the equivalent of an educational moon shot, we are going to have to dramatically increase capacity in all of higher education. We will need a robust, diverse higher education system, including fully-funded public four-year institutions, community colleges, independent institutions, and private-sector colleges and universities such as the institutions of DeVry,” Hamburger said.
Hamburger noted, however, that we must determine how to pay for this expansion – and also help students finance their post-secondary educations without taking on too much debt.
During Duncan’s time as CEO of the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), DeVry collaborated with CPS on the establishment of a groundbreaking and highly successful dual-enrollment program, the DeVry University Advantage Academy.
Students in the Advantage Academy spend their last two years of high school at DeVry, where they are taught by CPS teachers and DeVry professors. They graduate with both a high school diploma and a college associate degree at no additional cost to their families. Ninety-two percent of Advantage Academy students graduate high school and earn their associate degree, and 85 percent go on to pursue their bachelor’s degree. DeVry partners with public schools in Columbus, Ohio on a similar program, and is working with selected school districts across the country to expand the program.
Hamburger noted that the collaboration with Secretary Duncan continues.
“We share Secretary Duncan’s commitment to educate our students for the new jobs of the 21st century, to ensure that all students from all segments of society receive high-quality, results-oriented education at a cost they and taxpayers can afford,” he said.
Also speaking at the forum was Democratic pollster Alan Quinlan, who provided an overview of Americans’ views on the importance of higher education to individual economic opportunity. A panel of experts moderated by Goldie Blumenstyk, a senior reporter at The Chronicle of Higher Education, further explored the higher education-workforce development link.
About DeVry Inc.
DeVry’s purpose is to empower its students to achieve their educational and career goals. DeVry (NYSE: DV, member S&P 500 Index) is a global provider of educational services and the parent organization of Advanced Academics, Apollo College, Becker Professional Education, Chamberlain College of Nursing, DeVry Brasil, DeVry University, Ross University Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, and Western Career College. These institutions offer a wide array of programs in business, healthcare and technology and serve students in secondary through postsecondary education as well as accounting and finance professionals. For more information, please call 630.353.3800 or visit http://www.devryinc.com.