Basic Needs Insecurity: The Real Crisis Facing Community Colleges

The Association of Community College Trustees produces a quarterly magazine for trustees and the summer 2017 features my article on this topic. Here’s a highlight:

We talk a lot about the crisis of non-completion in community colleges, lamenting the struggles students confront when trying to juggle school and work, challenges created by under-preparation for the academic rigor of the coursework, and the difficulties faced by first-generation students who don’t know how to navigate complex bureaucracies. But we rarely discuss — at least openly — the sleeping students.

Those sleeping students deserve our attention, and so do the many other exhausted but perhaps not yet sleeping students whose energy is sapped. They come to class genuinely interested in learning, but not always ready to learn because their basic needs — conditions for that learning — have not yet been secured. Many are hungry, even homeless.

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