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Status quo approach won't help Oklahoma shrink education gap

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: September 7, 2012

One answer for policymakers is to stay the course of reforms designed to produce students who graduate from high school prepared for college-level work. Failure to do so has dire consequences for the state and for those students who face limited employment opportunities and a job market that's not as welcoming for adults without a college degree or at least some level of college education.

Of course, as we noted last week, this also means the education foundation of students preparing for high school needs shoring up.

Higher education officials also know they must do a better job of getting their students to the finish line. In his comments during a recent visit to Oklahoma City, Richard Petrick of the Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy mentioned a variety of efforts and factors impacting Oklahoma's efforts to produce more college graduates. One in particular stuck out.

Petrick talked about challenges for first-generation college students and that more structured academic programs and “intrusive counseling” for some students might help more of them reach the graduation stage.

Those thoughts are a bit off-track to conventional higher education thinking that places a premium on independence and students mostly charting their own course. But it might be a valuable point of discussion in a state with a fair number of students whose family history might have little or no college experience. Status quo thinking isn't likely to help Oklahoma close the education gap or grow our economy to a further position of strength.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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