My Education, Our Future: Scenes from the Target 2020 Summit

Shane Gooding
January 5, 2011

The chief barrier to success in work and life is no longer access to college but completion—with credentials that mean something in the workforce. So what stands in the way of completing college? Who better to answer that than students themselves.

In October, brought together community college students from across North Carolina to discuss the main barriers they face and how to address them. This video shares their voices and ideas for change, and looks at some innovative approaches already underway. (For more solutions, see Related Reading, at right.)


Check out the winning student-developed college completion projects on the site.

In this video:

  • Lauren Bystrack, student
  • Emily Pakes, student
  • Wali Davis, student
  • Several students (some anonymous)Ayofemi Kirby, Director of Communications,
  • Maya Enista, CEO,
  • Decker Ngongang, VP of Programs,
  • Scott Ralls, President, North Carolina Community College System
  • Tony Zeiss, President, Central Piedmont Community College
  • Hillary Pennington, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • Catalina Ruiz-Healy, VP for Programs, Rappaport Family Foundation
  • Alberto Retana, Director of Community Outreach, U.S. Department of Education


Why the Summits?

First, the facts: fewer than 46 percent of students at 4-year universities complete their degree within 6 years and only 3 out of 10 students attending community colleges complete their 2-year associate degree within 3 years.

Higher education is a primary factor in improving the state of our communities and our country, as individuals who complete some form of postsecondary education are able to earn higher wages, likely increasing the financial stability for themselves and their families. But if the current student population, all members of the Millennial Generation (those born between the years 1976 and 1996), is somehow falling short of achieving its educational goals, our country faces a significant problem with consequences impacting our nation for decades to come.

With support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Rappaport Family Foundation, and to offer Millennials the tools they need to achieve their personal educational goals and realize the impact it can have on their communities by the year 2020, is convening three Democracy 2.0 Summits. They kicked off in North Carolina (October 22-24, 2010) and are forthcoming in California (April 15 -17, 2011) and New York (dates TBD).

SparkAction is pleased to help promote this opportunity for genuine and powerful inclusion of youth perspectives!

Please share your thoughts below.

Share this SparkAction Link: click here to shorten

Hello. I work for the company, which provides essay service. Not so long ago I was ordered to write a speech to a presentation for students of one college. The theme of the presentation is "the"
Students should know about this!

July 27 at 08:34am

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June 2 at 03:17am

Thanks for sharing your feedback. We strongly agree that in-depth interviews with students are critical and powerful -- no one is better equipped to speak to the challenges and offer solutions.

This short video was created to summarize the event and the major themes that emerged, through the voices and ideas of the young people who attended and organized it -- and to link to more in-depth info.

You'll find that info by clicking the link above to the summit page. Let us know what you find!
- Caitlin Johnson and the SparkAction team

January 20 at 03:19pm

This is simple-minded. No real new information. It would have been much better to have seen in-depth interviews with college students describing in detail the barriers they face and what is helping them overcome those barriers (from policies, to their own activities).

January 12 at 12:42pm


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