“The bridge to this year’s completion reveals several marked downward trends suggesting Nashville students need more post-secondary preparation and support more than ever, ”said Jennifer hill, Vice President, Policy and Programming at the Nashville Public Education Foundation. “The indicators of intention to go to college for the class of 2021 suggest downward trends, but with community leadership and intervention, as well as smart policies and practices, Nashville can still make a positive difference for students looking to return to post-secondary programs or those looking to enter college after this school year. “
The 2021 Transition to Completion Report makes three key recommendations: 1) Accelerate the exploration and strong counseling of colleges and careers as a central part of the high school student experience and deepen the engagement of students. local employers and non-profit organizations; 2) diversifying and strengthening study and career preparation so that more students have the opportunity to obtain high-demand college credits and certifications while still in high school; and 3) advancing policies and practices across the postsecondary ecosystem that reduce the economic barriers that prevent students from enrolling, persisting and completing college.
“The pandemic poses an unforeseen burden on students and families, intensifying issues of affordability and access to college for all students, especially the most vulnerable,” said Bob obrohta, Executive Director of Tennessee College Access and Success Network. “While no single entity is responsible for the decline in enrollment and persistence resulting from COVID-19, it is our collective responsibility to increase support and implement the necessary changes in policies and practices. The post-secondary education level of our students is at stake, in addition to the dynamism and economic health of Nashville. ”
The 2021 Pass-to-Completion report found that while 81% of MNPS students made approaches to college this year – a similar rate to previous years – 41.9% of students experienced a “Fusion” – meaning they intended to go to college but did not find themselves enrolling in the fall of 2020. The rate of melting over the summer more than doubled compared to the previous year – 996 more students – likely in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The district’s university attendance rate in 2020 was 46.9%, a drop of -8.3% from 2019 and the lowest point in more than a decade.
All high schools in the district and almost all student demographic groups have been affected by the decline. Equity gaps in college persist, enrollments declining for all demographics, and racial / ethnicity gaps largely the same as in previous years, with fewer Black and Latinx students enrolled than their white peers and Asian. After moving in a positive direction in 2018, persistence data for the Class of 2019 fell – with just 59% of students persisting from their first year of college to their second year, the lowest persistence rate since 2012 for community college and undergraduate students.
The Bridge to Completion report analyzes data from the National Student Clearinghouse on MNPS graduates over the past 7 years as well as data from interviews with college and career professionals. Analysis of the report reveals a number of ways that the district, local employers, community organizations, and the city as a whole can help improve post-secondary outcomes.
“All of Nashville’s students deserve to thrive in school, as well as beyond graduation and on their way to college and their careers,” said Hill. “It is essential that we educate policymakers and the general public about the inequalities and persistent obstacles that stand in the way of Nashville students. With resumption of in-person learning Nashville and more people get vaccinated, it is possible to improve the downward trends, but we need to actively address affordability issues for low income students ”.
The NPEF regularly convenes stakeholders to advocate for data-driven solutions and changes. In addition to college access and success, NPEF programs and coalitions address topics such as education funding, the importance of effective principals and leaders, teacher recruitment and retention, and conditions that must be present in schools for children to thrive.
About the Nashville Public Education Foundation
The Nashville Public Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that raises private funds to support teachers and leaders, advocate for successes, and dismantle inequalities in Metro Nashville public schools. More information is available at nashvillepef.org.
Media contact: Tiny Mighty Communications / Paul oakley / [email protected] / (615) 627-8917
SOURCE Nashville Public Education Foundation