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Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges and Beyond

Theory and Practice in Achieving Educational Equity

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Jeremiah J. Sims, Jennifer Taylor-Mendoza, Lasana O. Hotep, Jeramy Wallace and Tabitha Conaway

It is difficult to find justice-centered books geared specifically for community college practitioners interested in achieving campus wide educational equity. It is even more difficult to find a book in this vein written, exclusively, by community college practitioners. Minding the Obligation Gap in Community Colleges and Beyond is just that: a concerted effort by a cross-representational group of community college practitioners working to catalyze conversations and eventually practices that attend to the most pressing equity gaps in and on our campuses. By illuminating the constitutive parts of the ever-increasing obligation gap, this book offers both theory and practice in reforming community colleges so that they function as disruptive technologies. It is our position that equity-centered community colleges hold the potential to call out, impede, and even disrupt institutionalized polices, pedagogies, and practices that negatively impact poor, ethno-racially minoritized students of color. If you and your college is interested in striving for educational equity campus-wide please join us in this ongoing conversation on how to work for equity for all of the students that we serve.

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Preface: The Endless Loop of My Misguided Community College Pathway Jeremiah J. Sims

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Preface: The Endless Loop of My Misguided Community College PathwayJEREMIAH J. SIMS

As California Community Colleges work to develop, create, and ultimately implement Guided Pathways for students, working on this book caused me to reflect on my own misguided pathway through community college. I did not start my post-secondary career in a four-year institution. I started at a California Community College. My story, though uniquely my own, is not at all aberrational where first-in-family community college students are concerned. I grew up in an urban enclave in the East (San Francisco) Bay Area of California. I grew up in a geographic area that boasts a surfeit of community colleges. Within 20 miles of my front door, there were no less than eight community colleges; and, I took classes at all of them. Additionally, I graduated from a high school that was both housed on a community college campus and in partnership with said college to create what was referred to as a middle college experience. Briefly, the goal of middle college programs is to provide opportunities for interested high school students to take community college courses while completing their high school graduation requirements. If done correctly, a high school student can graduate high school with a diploma while having completed their undergraduate general education requirements and/or earning an associate degree. This, of course, requires committed, intentional work by students and their families. And, together students and their guardians must work in concert with school staff to...

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