One simple path to a degree

On Community College Spotlight: California community college students need one simple path to a degree.

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  1. What does that mean, “one simple path” ?

    Sure, the complexity of 23 CSUs and a zillion comm colleges with hundreds of associates degrees, credential programs, or bachelor’s is mind boggling, but what exactly does it mean to have separate universities if they are all required to have the same degree programs with the same requirements (even though they have different faculties and different students?)

    The suggestion that there be a “simple” path misses the point: the UC and CSU systems aren’t just different locations of the same school or the same two schools. They offer very different things and for different reasons.

    The idea that there should be a simple path so *everyone can have a degree* is already wrong headed. No, degrees are not meaningful in and of themselves. They are only meaningful is the path to reaching that degree taught something. It is not just a hoop people need to jump through to achieve success. It is a set of skills and knowledge that means they can achieve moving forward. If the goal is to make it “simple” enough for everyone to achieve the same thing, save us the money and close the schools now.

    A more reasonable proposal is that the state fix high school so kids don’t need comm college or remediation to successfully attend the CSU or UC system. Another proposal would be to spend more effort controlling costs at the UC and CSU system.

  2. Cardinal Fang says:

    Griefer, I think you might perhaps be misunderstanding the issue here. No one is saying that there should be a simple path so everyone can have a degree. But a student starting out in a California community college ought to be able to know what she has to do to transfer to a Cal State campus. She ought to know what classes she has to pass to transfer. Moreover, she shouldn’t have to take one set of classes to transfer to CSU A as a Blob major, and a gratuitously different set of classes to transfer to CSU B as a Blob major. She shouldn’t have to navigate a byzantine system that changes every year. She shouldn’t have to stay an extra semester or an extra year because the classes she took last year– which were required last year– are no longer required and now a new set of classes are required.

    California high school students have a simple path to a CSU. Any California student who takes and passes the a-g classes, has a 3.0 gpa, and graduates from high school is guaranteed admission at a CSU. There ought to be a similarly simple path for CSU transfers.

    “Simple” in this case means simple to state, not necessarily simple to achieve. Maybe a student won’t be able to pass the classes she needs to pass, but she should be able to know the classes she needs to pass.

  3. — But a student starting out in a California community college ought to be able to know what she has to do to transfer to a Cal State campus.

    and she ought to know what degree she wants to have, or the rest is a waste of her and our time and money anyway.

    There are very good reasons why different colleges have different requirements for their majors, and therefore, different prereqs for entry. If you think the entire CSU system should all have the same majors with the same reqs with the same syllabi, then you don’t want to have different universities. The universities feel otherwise. For good or bad, they wish to have their majors be different.

    Your comment about how to go from high school to CSU is part of my point about fixing high school and tuition. There would be no need for comm colleges doing the heavy lifting for a bachelor’s if high school did its job, and CSU’s rates were still reasonable.

  4. –She shouldn’t have to navigate a byzantine system that changes every year.

    If by “every year”, they really mean “the sophomore rules telling you the grad reqs for when you are a senior will change next yer”, then I agree. But that’s not what was happening in CA when I was there. What was happening was students were languishing in comm colleges, a class here and a class there, and low and behold, 5 years after they started, the reqs to move to an upper division sequence were different. That isn’t a problem with the system. That’s a problem with a system where comm colleges are wasting people’s time, because there’s no incentive to move through quickly and get into a university for many of the students in comm college. Why not? Because the ones who wanted to go already got in and went.


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