Bill allowing student to skip remedial classes raises concerns

Francisco Medina, Staff Reporter

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The Equity Office sponsored the Students and Faculty Voices event for De Anza College community to discuss the outcomes and implementation of Assembly Bill 705.

AB 705 allows students to register in transfer level courses such as calculus, statistics and EWRT 1A without any placement tests.

According to the De Anza Office of Institutional Research and Planning, overall success rates improved between fall 2017 and fall 2018.

Since the bill will be going into effect fall 2019, some are concerned that faculty and students may not receive the proper resources and that existing resources will not be made more effective.

Jim Nguyen, political science professor and member of the Equity Core Team, said that on top of the data, personal experiences and stories of the students are valid as well and both should be considered.

“Faculty are working hard on trying to implement it under the spirit of the law but I think we need more resources for faculty and students,” Nguyen said. “That way it is not just a sink or swim situation for our students when they decide to take a class.”

The math student panel told the audience that the bill is a good change that could use more assistance but highlighted the importance of supporting target groups who are people of color and low income students.

“It is going good considering it’s new but we need more data to see if it’s helping the target audience,” said Alejandra Fajardo, 19, ethnic studies major. “More support like advertisement about tutoring services, catering to students schedule and making time and space for those students would help too.”

Jeanine Palicte, 20, biology major and part of the English student panel, said remedial courses should be offered because they are just as important as transfer courses since they help create a foundation for students by preparing them for college level work.

“I want to be in classroom setting that is a community and where we can all be confident that we are learning together as a group,” Palicte said.

Cheryl Balm, Math Performance Success professor, said the student and faculty voices events have proven to be important to faculty since they have allowed conversations between math, English and ESL departments that were not happening before AB705.

“It is a huge hurtle and we’re doing the best we can,” Balm said. “I’m trying to keep it student focused by making sure that the most at risk students are not getting lost in the shuffle of success rates, numbers and funding formulas.”

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