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Community Colleges to Headline White House Summit

Community Colleges struck it big when candidate Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as a running mate. Along with the deal came Biden's wife, Jill, a community college professor and advocate for this growing sector of higher education.

Today, word is out that Mrs. Biden will convene the first White House summit on community colleges on Oct. 5. It will provide a forum for community college administrators, business leaders, philanthropists, government officials, and students to discuss how these schools can help in President Obama's vision of making the U.S. the most educated workforce in the world.

All this comes at a critical time. There is a desperate need to innovate at community colleges, with enrollment up nearly 17 percent in the past two years, dwindling public funding, and completion rates at 40 percent. A majority of students enter community college unprepared academically, and campuses are looking for ways to improve developmental education programs, which are critical to student success.

It will be interesting to see who is invited to the White House summit and, more importantly, what will come out of it.

UPDATE: For the official White House announcement and to view a video about the summit, go here.

The White House is asking the public to submit thoughts, questions, and challenges for discussion as part of the summit dialogue. You also can submit a video via YouTube or through the White House webform about how the community college experience has affected your life. There will be an online dialogue set up for interested parties to discuss ideas for community colleges, and people are encouraged to host groups or watch the live webcast of the plenary session of the summit.

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