MEDIA RELEASE: Report: Developmental education key to students’ post-secondary training

MEDIA RELEASE: Report: Developmental education key to students’ post-secondary training
But reform is needed to ensure all students have resources to complete the developmental education programs


RALEIGH (June 10, 2011)
– Developmental education at community colleges plays a crucial role in helping students complete post-secondary training and succeed at work, says a new report.

Community colleges provide a vital resource for North Carolina workers seeking training and skill improvement to meet the growing demands of modern industry, according to a new report by the North Carolina Budget & Tax Center. These colleges teach students basic reading, writing, and math skills through remediation and developmental education courses, better preparing students for college-level coursework. Yet due to the time and resources they require from students, these courses have the potential to reduce post-secondary graduation rates, a key factor if students are to achieve higher earnings and protect themselves against unemployment.

Nearly a quarter of the developmental education student body in the North Carolina Community College System is 25 years or older, the report says, and nearly half are low-income. Creating cost-effective, successful programs has been a challenge for community colleges across the state, as many of the adult students have family responsibilities and financial barriers.

Given the high demand for a workforce with more skills training and education, it is more important than ever that state policymakers address the need for reform of developmental education in North Carolina, the report says. Several policy areas could succeed in reducing the time required to move through developmental education requirements, as well as ensure that financial costs do not add an extra burden for students.

“Adult workers who enroll in skills training and post-secondary education must be considered in the design and implementation of developmental education policies,” says Alexandra Forter Sirota, director of the Budget & Tax Center and author of the report. “Their success in attaining credentials or degrees will be critical to their ability to earn family-sustaining wages and support North Carolina’s strong economy in the future.”

For more information, contact: Alexandra Forter Sirota, alexandra@ncjustice.org, (919) 861-1468; or (919) 801-0465;; Jeff Shaw, Director of Communications, NC Justice Center, jeff@ncjustice.org, (919) 863-2402 (office) (503) 551.3615 (mobile).