State policy reform has been an integral part of Achieving the Dream since its conception in 2004, and continues to be one of the four critical approaches. Public policy is a powerful force that can either help or hinder the efforts of community colleges working to close achievement gaps and increase student success and completion. In fact, some of the most promising advances in student success [see VA example] are in states where community college leaders and state policymakers are working together as partners as they take well-informed, mutually-reinforcing reform decisions anchored in equity and excellence.
Jobs for the Future – an Achieving the Dream Founding Partner – continues to manage the Achieving the Dream state policy reform portfolio. Together, Achieving the Dream and Jobs for the Future, have helped galvanize a collective of state policymakers and influencers, investors, and collegial organizations to help all students finish what they start.
Since 2004, 15 states have participated in formal Achieving the Dream policy work:
- 2004 - Florida, North Carolina, Texas, and Virginia
- 2005 - Connecticut and Ohio
- 2006 - Pennsylvania and Washington
- 2007 - Arkansas, Hawaii, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oklahoma, and South Carolina
- 2009 - All 15 states continue their work, but Connecticut, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, and Virginia focus on developmental education through their participation in the Developmental Education Initiative
- 2012 - Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia continue policy work through the Postsecondary State Policy Network
Postsecondary State Policy Network
The Postsecondary State Policy Network, led by Jobs for the Future in conjunction with Achieving the Dream, is a multistate collaboration committed to advancing state policy agendas that accelerate community college student success and completion. The network evolved out of the policy efforts for the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network, including the Developmental Education Intitative. The network includes 11 states that are continuing their work with support from Achieving the Dream and the Completion by Design and Student Success Center initiatives. JFF helps teams from the states maximize peer learning and develop and implement policies that promote community college student success.
The Postsecondary State Policy Network has two primary goals:
- Help states design administrative, system, and legislative policies that support these institutional reform strategies
- Spread emerging lessons and models across the states
To accelerate institutional change toward more systemic and student-focused structured pathways, the policy network advocates for the high-leverage policies listed below. The policies are organized in a framework that seeks to support students’ pathways from connection to college through completion.
- Learn more about the Postsecondary State Policy Network
- Meet the Achieving the Dream State Policy Teams
- Explore tools that all states can use
- The Network
- Get Involved