December 13, 2018

ICYMI: New Tennessean Op-Ed from Complete Tennessee Condemns TN’s “Miserable” Community College Outcomes 

Dr. Kenyatta Lovett writes “more bold action needed” from state officials to raise student outcomes

NASHVILLE, TN - An op-ed published by The Tennessean today condemns the dismal completion rates at Tennessee’s community colleges and encourages greater leadership from elected officials on policies to support postsecondary student achievement.

Complete Tennessee Executive Director Kenyatta Lovett writes that he shares Governor Haslam’s concerns about Tennessee’s “miserable” and “embarrassing” community college completion rates, highlighting the fact that less than a quarter of Tennessee community college students graduate within three years of enrollment.

Dr. Lovett also calls attention to Tennessee’s widening equity gap, noting, “Recent gains in college attainment and completion rates have not equally benefited all Tennesseans. Educational attainment rates of African-Americans and Hispanics in Tennessee are significantly lower than the attainment rates of their white peers.”

An excerpt of the op-ed is below:

Quality community colleges are integral to achieving Tennessee’s Drive to 55 goal to significantly raise postsecondary attainment rates by 2025. But when our state’s 13 community colleges are persistently underperforming, more bold action is needed to ensure students have access to the meaningful educational opportunities they deserve...

To uphold our state’s national reputation as an education innovator, Tennessee must not become complacent. We must continue to demand meaningful change and pursue a public agenda that prioritizes raising graduation rates and closing opportunity and achievement gaps between student groups—regardless of background or circumstance.

Read the full op-ed here. 


Complete Tennessee is a nonprofit 501(c)3 education advocacy organization focused on increasing postsecondary access and completion in Tennessee. Complete Tennessee’s mission will be advanced through the following objectives: enhanced community engagement, improved research and accountability metrics, advanced leadership development, and heightened innovation through shared best practices.