The Complete College Idaho plan, known as “60X20,” aims for “60% of Idahoans ages 25-34 [to] have a degree or certificate by 2020”; 60X20 affects English studies in that so-called “remedial” writing courses were re-conceived as co-requisite courses adapted from the accelerated learning program model of the Community College of Baltimore (ALP), rather than as non-credit, pre-composition level classes.
A higher education task force to support 60X20, convened by Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, has begun working. According to task force co-chair Bob Lokken, “There is no way we are going to get [to the 60% goal] by 2020. . . . If we could immediately increase by 50 percent the number of people who are getting degrees every year out of all of our two- and four-year institutions, we would have to run at that rate for almost a decade to get to the 60 percent goal” (Roberts). In an interview with task force co-chairs Linda Clark and Lokken, three key points emerged: “Idaho needs to do a better job of matching degrees to workforce needs. Many Idahoans still don’t see the value in getting an education beyond high school. A statewide information campaign may be necessary to drive home the importance of post-secondary education” (Roberts).
Other efforts to meet 60X20: the legislature rejected the governor’s “adult completer” scholarship (Otter, “Outcomes”). However, a new community college, the College of Eastern Idaho, was approved May 16, 2017, with 71.4 percent of vote, meeting the 2/3 majority required to form a community college district (Richert). The new college, to be developed from the current Eastern Idaho Technical Institute, located in Idaho Falls, will be the fourth state community college in Idaho.
Betsy Russell notes, “During the campaign, the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee passed a resolution opposing the new community college, in part because some GOP officials said they feared attracting refugees and ‘weird stuff.’ The resolution said there’s no guarantee that the community college wouldn’t engage in ‘controversial and divisive activities beyond the scope of its educational mission.’” But the college was supported by local Democrats and Republican women (Russell).
Governor Otter posted support of the college, arguing that “Idaho faces a worsening shortage of people with the postsecondary degrees, certificates and credentialed education and training to meet our workforce needs. Increasing academic and career technical education opportunities in such high-demand fields as health care, information technology, advanced manufacturing and transportation are an economic imperative for Idaho” (Otter, “Bonneville County”).
Complete College Idaho Plan