If you have not been to Long Beach in a while, you have missed out on not just the transformation of the city, but a transformation of its schools and the renewed commitment to its students and future. The folks in Long Beach are working really hard to get education right and specifically to get it right for their kids!
I love what this city has done and how it is not only reinventing itself but reshaping education. The Long Beach College Promise has been a model followed by many in larger cities throughout the country. There is a good reason for this, it’s successful.
There are a handful of cities that offer free college. Long Beach in California is one of them. Celebrating its 10th year, the Long Beach College Promise can and should be a model for districts to follow and replicate.
It’s a fairly simple concept. The elements of the Promise include access to early childhood education; college tours for 4th and 5th graders; middle school pledge by students and parents committing to college readiness; a tuition free first year (just recently upgraded to two years) at Long Beach City College and guaranteed admission to Long Beach State University for qualified students.
In its 10 year report, Long Beach College Promise boasted the following successes:
Among the findings in the new report, “Moving Long Beach Ahead,” were data showing that students now have far greater access to college, and are better prepared for higher education, than they were 10 years ago:
- Enrollment by LBUSD graduates at Long Beach State University has grown by 71 percent since the inception of The Promise (from 519 students in fall 2008 to 889 students in fall 2017).
- Enrollment by LBCC students at the four-year university has increased significantly, as has first-generation enrollment by LBUSD students at Long Beach State University.
- High school students are taking a record number of Advanced Placement college-level exams. Forty-six percent of 11th and 12th graders enrolled in AP courses in 2017, up from 34 percent in 2013-14.
- More students are meeting the A-G college entrance requirements for the University of California and California State University systems. While students who do not meet these requirements can attend other colleges and universities – including community colleges – The Promise includes a concerted effort to improve A-G completion. Last year, 49 percent of LBUSD graduates met these requirements, up from 37 percent in 2011-12.
- The LBCC Foundation gave about $500,000 in Long Beach College Promise Scholarships in 2017. These scholarships cover a tuition-free first year at LBCC. Long Beach Rotary is a major contributor to this effort and was honored at this year’s event as a Long Beach College Promise Champion.
- The Mayor’s Fund for Education was launched in collaboration with local partners to identify students’ needs at all levels, including pre-K, and to assist in fundraising. This year, the Mayor’s Fund launched ReadyRosie, an online platform that helps preschool parents incorporate learning activities into everyday interactions with their children.
- The Long Beach Internship Challenge, in conjunction with the work of the Long Beach Career-Linked Learning has provided thousands of internships for students.
- Graduation rates at LBUSD increased for the fifth year in a row, again surpassing state and county rates. Students of color in Long Beach schools also outperformed their peers countywide and statewide, and seven high schools here reported graduation rates above 90 percent.
- LBCC’s persistence and graduation rates are also increasing. Thirty-nine percent of transfer students graduate from Long Beach State University in two years. Eighty-four percent of such students graduate from Long Beach State University in four years.
Phenomenal work Long Beach College Promise! We salute you!
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