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Student Success Task Force recommendations make “good policy sense”

Imran Majid, Connection Staff
February 8, 2012

California’s Community Colleges Board of Governors unanimously voted in favor of adopting the 22 recommendations made by the Student Success Task Force on Jan. 9, according to a press release from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
The SSTF final report, which will be sent to the state legislature for full review, includes plans to increase community college success by aligning classes based on the needs of students, increasing college readiness by collaborating with K-12 and improving the basic skills of first-year students.
“At a time when resources are scarce, our system must implement solutions that improve student outcomes, deliver an educated and trained workforce and ensure the efficient use of state investment in higher education,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor, Jack Scott, in a press release.
California’s community colleges are in the midst of a fiscal crisis brought on by cuts in state funding that has limited the spending power of community colleges by 10.88 percent since 2009, according to the final report.
As a result, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Senate Bill 1143 in 2010 and forced the Board of Governors to come up with a plan to increase college success by 2012, according to the press release. The result was the Student Success Task Force, and its recommendations make “good policy sense and will help ensure that the community colleges are leveraging all available resources to help students succeed,” according to the final report.
However, not all students at Cosumnes River College agree.
One of the recommendations made by the SSTF would require all students to declare an area of study by the end of their third semester in order to maintain enrollment priority, according to the final report.
“I don’t really think it’s fair since some students haven’t decided on a major and are still exploring around,” said 19-year-old horticulture major Omar Espinosa.
The SSTF defines success as the percentage of community college students completing their educational goals and earning a certificate or degree, transferring, or achieving transfer-readiness, according to the final report.
William Raasdh, a 22-year-old general education major, agrees with the recommendation because “we only want to look at the successes in life.”
“You can look at the failures, but they want to know what the main concern is,” Raasdh said. “And by looking at successes we can learn what the main concern is.”
Another recommendation made by the SSTF is to align course offerings based on the needs of students. The plan recommends ending state subsidies for classes that “solely serve an enrichment or recreational purpose,” according to an article from the Sacramento Bee.
“It was never my wish to ration attendance at community colleges, but this was forced upon us by the very severe budget cuts,” Scott told the Sacramento Bee. “The reality is, we just can’t offer everything to everybody.”
CRC Academic State Senate President Charles Braden says the work of the senate will focus on influencing how the recommendations are implemented. Many of the proposed changes will require legislation, and the recommendations were left specifically vague, he said.
“Cosumnes River College’s faculty and administration are committed to the success of all of our students and will continue to advocate for a measured, equitable and logical implementation of the task force’s recommendations,” Braden said.
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