Legislation, remediation, partnerships on community college board agenda

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Priorities for the 2017 legislative session, tackling student remediation and building partnerships with local organizations were discussed at Friday’s Mississippi Community College Board meeting.

• Dr. Andrea Mayfield, executive director of the Community College Board, reported that a request for an increase in spending authority of $14.5 million was presented Thursday to the House Appropriations Committee.

“We have been working very hard here at the agency as a team to bring in external funds to support the initiatives that impact community college students, ” says Mayfield.

The board will present the same request to the Senate on Wednesday.

• Mayfield also reported on her meeting with Dr. Glenn Boyce, commissioner of the Board of Trustees of Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, and Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education K-12, to tackle the remediation education issue.

Remediation, or basic instruction to help students achieve expected competencies in core academic skills, falls into three categories: high school dropouts returning for GED, high school graduates enrolling in college and adult learners.

“We currently remeditate about 46,000 students a year. The most concerning group is high school graduates entering college. We spend $11.5 million remediating those students,” Mayfield said.

• Visiting presenter and potential partner 2nd Chance MS described for the board its program that raises awareness and funds for adult education and work skills training.

2nd Chance has a mission to “support your mission” to educate and train adults for their high school equivalency and prepare them for success in the work force, 2nd Chance president Dickie Scruggs told the group. (Scruggs is a donor to Mississippi Today.)

Currently, 2nd Chance MS operates a pilot program offering financial assistance to 100 participants at Northeast Mississippi Community College and Itawamba Community College. Qualifying students are those who did not earn a high school diploma. In six months, participants may earn a high school diploma and one of six nationally recognized manufacturing skill certifications.