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On Considering Adoption

by Rosa Perez

As the mother of two adopted children from El Salvador, I can attest to the joy that comes from providing a nurturing, loving environment for international children whose living environments are in jeopardy due to social and economic challenges in their home countries. This being said, there are many issues raised when an individual starts thinking about adopting a child, whether from another country or within the USA. Whatever drives the hopeful parent to want to adopt the decision should be begin with a true desire to contribute to a healthy and safe home environment for a child.

Some of the concerns raised by adoption agencies involve economic, romantic, and occupational matters. The first issue that must be covered is a hopeful adoptive parent’s economic status, as raising a child is an expensive endeavor. If an individual wants to adopt but does not have the necessary income, he or she will most likely be turned down. Adoption agencies review the potential parent’s job history, financial savings, and many other aspects of a person’s economic make-up, and they may turn down candidates who do not have the means necessary to raise a child.

Next, a person’s relationship status and family situation is of great importance when considering adoption. Single parent adoption is becoming more popular, but some agencies still hold onto the belief that a person cannot raise a child by his or herself. Another concern that falls into this category is the possible presence of significant others, whether you are married or in a domestic partnership. Remember, adopting a child is adding a new component to your life, and the child will be involved in every aspect of your existence.

If you are considering adopting a child, be sure to fully examine all facets of this decision. It remains one of my best choices, but it is not for everyone. Adopted children deserve a loving, committed parent, and if you are willing to be that person, you have the fundamental requirement.

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A Short History of Community Colleges in America

by Rosa Perez

I spent my career in postsecondary education, most recently serving as the Chancellor of the San José/Evergreen Community College District. Community colleges have played an important role in the cultural, social, and economic development of the United States. Interest and enrollment in community colleges have surged since the 1980s. The precursors to community colleges were local initiatives founded to meet specific needs. Some of the first such institutions were founded in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as alternatives to the traditional four-year college program. Usually, the alternatives were extensions of high schools, and they focused on liberal arts education. Around the turn of the 20th century, the national debate placed increased emphasis on education as a means of ensuring the industrial success of the United States, creating widespread support for community colleges (then called junior colleges). Many traditional colleges and universities also supported the establishment of community colleges as a means of offloading some of the basic vocational aspects of postsecondary education, so they could focus on research and higher-level studies.

During the Great Depression, community colleges shifted away from their traditional liberal arts focus toward pragmatic work skills training. Many students continued to enroll with the intention of transferring into a full university program later, but others came to develop what were then termed “semiprofessional” skills. Following the end of World War II, the G.I. Bill led to a surge in demand for postsecondary education. Community college enrollment increased, and many institutions developed continuing education programs to meet the needs of veterans. As the Baby Boomers came of college age, enrollment in community colleges continued to grow. In the 1960s and 1970s, the number of community colleges increased significantly. Institutions began collaborating more closely, and large national networks developed. Today, community colleges continue to outpace traditional postsecondary institutions in terms of enrollment.

Currently, there are over 1,000 community colleges in the United States. To see President Barack Obama and Dr. Jill Biden speak about the importance of community colleges, watch this video published by the White House. [Community College Summit: Opening Session] [http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2010/10/05/community-college-summit-opening-session]

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