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March 16, 2010 2:21 PM Brief, Shining

By Daniel Luzer

The American Graduation Initiative, President Obama’s plan to get an additional 5 million community college graduates in the next ten years and build a country with the highest college graduation rate in the world by 2020, was ambitious. To accomplish it, Obama planned to invest $12 billion in American community colleges. Obama explains his initiative back in July here:

Well, that’s gone. According to an article by David Moltz at Inside Higher Ed:

After a year of high hopes, the apparent shedding of the American Graduation Initiative from combined health care/student aid legislation has left many community college officials deeply disappointed.

But some community college officials are happy just to have been noticed at all:

[North Carolina Community College System President Scott] Ralls and other seemed inclined to focus on the positives, like the national attention the initiative brought to community colleges. “I’m someone who believes that community colleges have been an unrecognized player in the U.S. education fabric, and I think recognition, even without resources, has been important for us,” he said.

For the first time in history, after all, a president mentioned American community colleges in his State of the Union address. Some are hoping that the (fleeting) national focus might help spur local initiatives. If the federal government won’t give the school any money, maybe the city can still be persuaded. Good luck with that.

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer