The California state Legislative Analyst rejected key proponents of Gov. Jerry Brown’s budget proposal for higher education.
Brown’s proposal includes goals that will limit educators with an increase in class that can house high number of students and creating a “virtual campus” with more online classes.
He also proposed to increase funding for the state’s three higher systems of education will receive 4 to 6 percent.
Brown detracted from the major changes by focusing more on the detail of a budget increase of $1.4 billion.
According to the Legislative Analyst, the increase is only vaguely connected to undefined performance expectations.
Brown focused on California community colleges as a means for transfer rather than a means for education.
“By focusing on reducing the time it takes a student to successfully complete a degree, the state can ensure a system that is financially sustainable over the long term,” Brown proposed.
But, the increased focus on certificates earned and student transfer rates will discourage the community from entering community college to further their own education.
The goal of offering education to the community should remain a main goal of community colleges.
Brown proposes limiting the time a student can spend in school by capping the number of units a student can complete.
Students would be allowed up to 135 quarter credit units before being charged full tuition.
The only way around would be for the school to grant a waiver and receive no state funding for the student.
The limit of units will cause students who cannot afford the full tuition to turn away.
Students who wish to receive multiple degrees can easily exceed the unit cap.
With the limit on repeated classes already in place, an additional cap on units earned would discourage students from taking classes for their own education rather than for transfer.
Brown believes these very students are causing trouble in the community college system. “Completion and transfer rates are very low in the CSU’s and the community colleges, resulting in great inefficiencies,” Brown said.
Brown wants campuses to limit instructor time as well.
“Priority will be given to development of courses that can serve greater numbers of students,” he said.
So he is proposing funding targeted to increase online courses with the creation of virtual campuses.
But students do not show high success rates in these types of courses.
The Legislative Analyst felt Brown’s overall approach is unlikely to improve the system.
We can only hope Brown’s proposal to further limit education given at community colleges will not be approved.