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For many young people in the Road Map Project region, Community and Technical Colleges (CTCs) are an essential gateway to meaningful, living-wage, career opportunities. Yet, less than half of the region’s high school graduates who enroll directly in the region’s CTCs are able to complete credentials or transfer to a four-year institution within their first four years of CTC enrollment.

In collaboration with Puget Sound College & Career Network, Community Center for Educational Results, and Highline College, Inequity by Design: How College Placement Policies Perpetuate Institutional Racism is the culmination of a multi-year, three-study series exploration into the enrollment and placement policies of community and technical colleges (CTCs) in the Road Map Project region.

This report examines how the current approach to placement policies and implementation perpetuates racial inequity and systematically and substantially underestimates student capacity, particularly among students of color. It also explores the underlying causes that systematically sort students of color in precollege courses, shares why our current system is not set up to address these challenges, and explores the reasons why a new paradigm is necessary to address systemic racial inequities in the educational system.

We hope that this report can be useful to anyone who is advocating for students – particularly students of color – most impacted by inequitable enrollment and placement policies. Shifting how students are placed and challenging our assumptions of placement as neutral are essential for youth in our region to achieve their goals. With placement policies that perpetuate, rather than remediate injustice across our education system, we must act collectively with anti-racist approaches and center the experiences of students of color to improve student transition from high school to college.

Posted in: College & Career Readiness , College & Career Success