College presidents assess K-12 challenges in Maryland

Leaders of Maryland’s higher education institutions stress the importance of K-12 education, regardless of whether high school graduates enroll in a community college or four-year institution.

“I think a lot about K-12 education,” said Dr. Jay A. Perman, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore, who noted the importance of ensuring students who enroll at his institution are prepared for the rigor of graduate-level courses.

Perman, a GBC board member, GBC Board of Directors secretary William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, and Dr. Kathleen Hetherington, president of Howard Community College, discussed trends in higher education and offered insights into their industry at the GBC’s second ‘Meet the Moguls’ speaker series event on October 9.

The ‘moguls’ said incoming students today face achievement gaps and require remediation courses.

Kirwan said secondary schools produce “phenomenal students” who graduate from high school with 30 Advanced Placement credits while many other students either don’t graduate or enter college and require remediation.

It is a “huge problem,” Kirwan said.

The controversial Common Core Standards Initiative is a “noble effort” to standardize education and raise the standards in K-12 education, Kirwan said. Maryland is one of 47 states to embrace the Common Core, he reported.

At the graduate level, the number of African American males matriculating to medical schools is less than the number who enrolled 30 years ago, said Perman, who noted this is problematic for the health care industry.

“We’re not where we need to be, particularly with underrepresented minorities,” Perman said.

Also problematic is that a student’s socioeconomic status affects the likelihood of them earning a college degree, Kirwan said. Students in the lowest quartile of income have a 9 percent chance of earning a college degree compared to students in the highest quartile who have an 85 percent chance of earning one, he reported.

The ‘moguls’ also addressed the affordability of higher education. They said the average undergraduate student leaves college with about $26,000 in debt.

Kirwan called the debt students incur a worthwhile investment that is “still manageable” because he said those with a college degree earn $1 million more in their lifetime than someone without a degree.

He said the debt is “one heck of an investment to earn $1 million more over your lifetime.”

However, community college offers students a less expensive option for students who are unclear about a career path.

One in four Howard County high school graduates enrolls in community college and more than half of Howard Community College’s students transfer to University System of Maryland schools, said Hetherington, who urges students to select a career path sooner rather than later.

“Time is the enemy,” she said.

The ‘moguls’ addressed how they respond to workforce needs in the state, particularly in the fields of “STEM” (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and cybersecurity, which includes the creation of new programs and collaboration that includes developing public-private partnerships.

“Public-private partnerships are the name of the game,” Perman said. “We have to reach out to the private sector.”

The ‘Meet the Moguls’ series includes networking, discussion, Q&A and how the GBC can focus on nurturing industry growth.

Moderated by GBC President and CEO Donald C. Fry, each ‘Meet the Moguls’ event highlights different industry groups and aims to highlight job creation and investment that various industry sectors bring to the region, industry trends in the next 12 to 18 months and issues or concerns the ‘moguls’ are experiencing or foresee in the future.

November 18 ‘Meet the Moguls’ event will focus on technology and innovation.

If you go:

When: Tuesday, November 18, 2014; 7:30-9:30 a.m.

Where: GBC Offices, 111 S. Calvert St., Suite 1700, Baltimore, MD 21202

Cost: $25 GBC members, $50 non-members

November ‘moguls’: Karl R. Gumtow, CEO, Cyberpoint International; Todd Marks, president and CEO, Mindgrub Technologies, LLC; and David Warnock, senior partner, Camden Partners

Contact Sara Garbarino at 410-727-2820 ext. 29 or

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