Two-year colleges are meant to be America’s quintessential institutions for the aspiring middle class. However, the latest research shows that community colleges are deeply underfunded to the point where they cannot provide the necessary support for students.

What can be done to ensure that community colleges are funded in a way that will provide students access to the strong and affordable education they need and deserve?

Join us on Thursday, April 25 at 9 a.m. to hear from former U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King, Jr. and a panel of experts discuss the challenges that America’s community colleges face and what we can do to fix them.

The event will coincide with the release of a new report by an expert panel of more than 20 education leaders and researchers who have been studying community college funding for the past two years.

Event Details

Thursday, April 25, 2019
8:30am – Breakfast and Registration
9:00am – Program begins
11:00am – Program ends

The National Press Club
First Amendment Lounge
529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor
Washington, DC 20045


Watch the full event below.


Read the latest research associated with this event or check out the book that includes more recommendations from The Century Foundation’s working group on community colleges.

To see the slide show available online, click here.


Secretary John B. King, Jr. @JohnBKing
Former United States Secretary of Education
President, The Education Trust

John B. King, Jr. is the president and CEO of The Education Trust, a national nonprofit organization that seeks to identify and close opportunity and achievement gaps, from preschool through college. King served as the U.S. secretary of education from 2016 to 2017 as a member of President Barack Obama’s administration. In tapping him to lead the U.S. Department of Education, President Obama called King “an exceptionally talented educator,” citing his commitment to “preparing every child for success” and his lifelong dedication to education as a teacher, principal, and leader of schools and school systems.

Before becoming secretary of education, beginning in January 2015, King carried out the duties of the U.S. deputy secretary of education, overseeing all policies and programs related to P–12 education, English learners, special education, and innovation. In this role, King also oversaw the agency’s operations. King joined the department following his tenure as the first African American and Puerto Rican to serve as New York State education commissioner, a post he held from 2011 to 2015.

King began his career in education as a high school social studies teacher in Puerto Rico and Boston, MA, and as a middle school principal. His life story is an extraordinary testament to the transformative power of education. Both of King’s parents were career New York City public school educators, whose example serves as an enduring inspiration. King’s parents passed away from illness by the time he was twelve years old. He credits New York City public school teachers—particularly educators at P.S. 276 in Canarsie and Mark Twain Junior High School in Coney Island—for saving his life by providing him with rich and engaging educational experiences and by giving him hope for the future.

Adam Gamoran @agamoran
President, The William T. Grant Foundation

Adam provides leadership for the William T. Grant Foundation’s strategic direction, shapes its agenda and tactics, and partners with the Board of Trustees to advance its mission and objectives. Since joining the Foundation, he launched a new initiative to support research on reducing inequality in youth outcomes, and has continued the Foundation’s ongoing work to improve the use of research evidence in policy and practice decisions that affect young people.

From 1984 to 2013, Adam served on the faculty of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he held the John D. MacArthur Chair in Sociology and Educational Policy Studies. From 2001-2004, he chaired the Department of Sociology, and from 2004-2013 he directed the Wisconsin Center for Education Research.

Adam’s research focused on educational inequality and school reform. He is an elected member of the National Academy of Education and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and was twice appointed by President Obama to serve on the National Board for Education Sciences. He also chairs the Board on Science Education of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. In 2013, he received the Spencer Foundation Award for contributions to research on education policy from the Association for Public Policy and Management, and in 2014 he was honored with the award for Distinguished Contributions to Research in Education from the American Educational Research Association. Adam earned his Ph.D. in education from the University of Chicago in 1984.

Bruce Baker @SchlFinance101
Professor, Graduate School of Education, Rutgers University

Bruce D. Baker, Ed.D. is a Professor in the Department of Educational Theory, Policy, and Administration at the GSE, and is widely recognized as a leading scholar in the field of education finance. Serving in both academic and professional capacities, he has authored a multitude of peer-reviewed journal articles, policy briefs, editorials, books, and reports on topics including state school finance policy, teacher and administrator labor markets and preparation pipelines, charter school funding, and higher education finance and policy. Exemplifying the GSE mission to Advance Excellence and Equity in Education, Baker works to directly influence state policy and the equity and adequacy of resources available to children across states and nationwide using rigorous and accessible empirical research to inform legislative testimony. He is frequently called upon by state legislatures, boards of education, and other organizations for advisement on educational policy and school finance issues, and has extensive experience testifying as an expert witness on school funding equity in state and federal courts in Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Texas, Missouri, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and New York.

Sara Goldrick-Rab @saragoldrickrab
Professor of Higher Education Policy and Sociology, Temple University
Founder, Wisconsin HOPE Lab
Founder, HOPE Center for College, Community and Justice

Sara Goldrick-Rab is professor of higher education policy & sociology at Temple University, and founder of the Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice in Philadelphia, as well as the Wisconsin HOPE Lab. She is best known for her innovative research on food and housing insecurity in higher education, having led the three largest national studies on the subject, and for her work on making public higher education free. She is the recipient of the William T. Grant Foundation’s Faculty Scholars Award and the American Educational Research Association’s Early Career Award, and in 2016 POLITICO magazine named her one of the top fifty people shaping American politics. Her latest book, Paying the Price: College Costs, Financial Aid, and the Betrayal of the American Dream (University of Chicago, 2016), is an Amazon bestseller and a 2018 winner of the Grawemeyer Award, and has been featured on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. The Chronicle of Higher Education calls her “a defender of impoverished students and a scholar of their struggles,” she is ranked seventh in the nation among education scholars according to Education Week, and in April 2018 the Carnegie Corporation awarded her the Carnegie Fellowship.

Richard Kahlenberg @RickKahlenberg
Senior Fellow, The Century Foundation

Richard D. Kahlenberg is a senior fellow at The Century Foundation with expertise in education, civil rights, and equal opportunity. Kahlenberg has been called “the intellectual father of the economic integration movement” in K-12 schooling and “arguably the nation’s chief proponent of class-based affirmative action in higher education admissions.” He is the author or editor of 16 books on K-12 schooling, higher education, and labor issues.

Kahlenberg’s articles have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He has appeared on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX, C-SPAN, MSNBC, and NPR. Previously, Kahlenberg was a Fellow at the Center for National Policy, a visiting associate professor of constitutional law at George Washington University, and a legislative assistant to Senator Charles S. Robb (D-VA). He is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School.

Hjordys Perez Matos
Recent community college student
Business Analyst of HumanCapital, Deloitte Consulting, LLP

Hjordys Perez Matos is a Business Strategy Consultant at Deloitte Consulting LLP. She is in the Human Capital practice specializing in Organization Transformation and provides solutions for clients in the Strategic Change, Change Management, Organization Design and Mergers & Acquisitions sectors in North America, Latin America, and Spanish markets.

Hjordys received a Bachelor of Science, magna cum laude from New York University where she studied Business Management with a concentration in Organizational Behavior and Strategy. She received her Associate degree in English from Laguardia Community College. Her service experience includes Dean’s Scholar mentor for high school students, NYU Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, NYU Student Senator representing the needs of first- generation students, Vice President of the YWCA Junior Board, and appointed Board Member of Manhattan Community Board 12.

Gail Mellow @GailOMellow
President, Laguardia Community College

Dr. Gail O. Mellow has served as president of LaGuardia Community College in Queens since 2000. A member of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, LaGuardia is a nationally recognized leader among community colleges for achieving boundary-breaking success educating underserved students. An expert on the history, development and future of the American community college, Dr. Mellow co-authored Minding the Dream: The Process and Practice of the American Community College (Rowman & Littlefield, 2nd ed. 2014) and Taking College Teaching Seriously: Pedagogy Matters! (Stylus, 2015). She is frequently sought as a commentator on the changing landscape of higher education, strategies for improving the nation’s graduation rate and the important role community colleges play in growing America’s middle class and strengthening the economy. Dr. Mellow received an A.A. from Jamestown Community College, a B.A. from SUNY Albany and her M.A. and Ph. D. in Social Psychology from George Washington University.

Moderator: Ashley A. Smith
Reporter, Inside Higher Ed

Ashley Smith is a reporter who covers community colleges, for-profit schools and non-traditional students for Inside Higher Ed. She joined the publication in 2015 after covering government and K-12 education for the Fort Myers News-Press in Florida for three years. Ashley also covered K-12 and higher education for three years at the Marshfield News-Herald in Wisconsin. She has interned with The Flint Journal, USA Today and the Detroit Free Press. Ashley grew up in Detroit and is a 2008 graduate of Michigan State University.