Student Success plan won't help students

Community college leaders met last December to discuss students’ success in California. The so-called Student Success Task Force has since drafted 22 recommendations to make community college students more successful.

This won’t make students more successful. It will put up more roadblocks for students while causing Palomar to spend time and money on implementing new rules instead of teaching students.

The Taskforce says its main goal is to have community colleges improve transfer rates and have more students receive associate degrees and certificates at community colleges.

Of course, the goal of transferring is admirable and necessary for some, but doesn’t take into account the different needs of students. The emphasis on student transfer rates completely discredits why a lot of students come to community college. Some enroll to explore new topics and others come after receiving a bachelor’s degree to gain certification and specialization.

The point of community college is for people to figure out what they want to study, and have the flexibility to change it. This bill won’t allow that. Students will be forced to come up with an education plan at the beginning, and will be discouraged from veering off of it

The initiative also fails to address the biggest obstacle for any kind of student success: availability of classes. The biggest detriment to student success that the taskforce failed to look over is a lack of classes within career courses.

A study done on community colleges by the University of Michigan found that nearly 140,000 first-time community college students were not able to enroll in a single course in 2010 because of over-crowding.

Further adding to the problem is the $400 million in budget cuts community colleges will be facing this year. The state of California therefore has to figure out what courses college should continue to offer. Colleges have started eliminating classes, this alone prevents the students from succeeding in California, therefore pushing students to seek enrollment outside of the state.

The state should stop eliminating classes, and they should start requiring students to be more active with the school they attend. The taskforce’s desire to assess all California students will increase the demand for counselors. This not beneficial because to pay for more counselors, schools will have to cut more classes.

More counselors are not needed. Students can sign onto their online account and see exactly what classes they need, and what classes they’ve already taken. There are various websites that can help with class scheduling. Schools should stop wasting money with new rules and instead get community colleges what they need in order to have successful students graduate. Like cheaper books.

A study done by the U. S. Government Accountability Office found that students are spending nearly $100 per textbook. The taskforce should figure out a way to help students pay for books and other materials students need to be more successful. Extra costs such as those are hurdles that keep students from being successful. The more college cost, the more students are forced to work to pay those costs instead of taking the classes to transfer.

Here is an idea: The taskforce should ask students what they need to succeed. Find out what is keeping them in community colleges and then address those problems instead of issuing edicts from Sacramento.

We need more parking lots, we need more financial aid, we need cheaper books, we need more professors to teach classes that students actually need to transfer. Arriving to class on time is always the student priority, and yet there are days when students spend over half an hour looking for a spot to park. Getting us into the classroom is the first step to a student’s success.

Author: Cyndi Lundenberg

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