Boosting California College Graduations Is Governor Panel’s First Task

The first order of business for a new higher education advisory board appointed by Gov. Gavin Newsom will be to look at ways to improve the low college graduation rates in the Central Valley and the Inland Empire and counter the effects of poverty and geographic isolation there, officials say.

The “Council for Post-Secondary Education,” which includes the state’s top education leaders as well as representatives of business and labor, will meet for the first time on Monday in Sacramento. It is supposed to get the state’s various public and private education systems out of what Newsom called their separate “silos” and to cooperate on issues of college access, success and costs.

But even before its first gathering, the panel is triggering anticipation that it might one day grow into or be replaced by a formal state-wide coordinating council for higher education with more authority and resources. During his election campaign last year, Newsom said he would support such a coordinating board.

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