Higher Education

California becomes battleground over bachelor’s degrees at community colleges

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In mid-April, two highly effective California lawmakers urged the state’s group faculty leaders in a letter to pause a part of a pilot that permits these establishments to supply bachelor’s levels.

Fifteen California group faculties have supplied four-year levels beneath the pilot since at the very least 2017. In 2021, lawmakers tremendously expanded this system, permitting the group faculty system to ascertain up to 30 new bachelor’s programs annually. 

The enlargement comes with an vital caveat — the state’s group faculties can not supply a four-year program already supplied by the California State College or the College of California programs.

Neighborhood faculties and public four-year establishments usually work collectively on pupil success and diploma attainment, creating switch pathways that assist college students enroll in bachelor’s applications after graduating with affiliate levels. However the pilot in California grants two-year faculties extra energy than they’ve historically had, throwing a wrench into that partnership and resulting in disputes over new group faculty baccalaureate levels.

State Sen. Josh Newman and Assemblyman Mike Fong  Democrats who respectively function the chairs of the Senate’s schooling committee and the Meeting’s larger schooling committee  on April 18 requested the California Neighborhood Schools system to pause purposes for brand new bachelor’s diploma applications. 

Strain from Cal State probably spurred the lawmakers to make their request, in keeping with Larry Galizio, president and CEO of the Neighborhood School League of California, which helps the pilot.

Critics of California’s diploma pilot say bachelor’s applications at group faculties might cannibalize college students, hurting enrollment on the state’s four-year establishments. However supporters assert such choices would attain those that in any other case would not attain four-year levels and assist handle workforce shortages.

A break would give leaders from California’s larger schooling programs time to higher outline what counts as program duplication, enhance the intersystem session course of and create a dispute decision course of, the letter stated.

Newman and Fong didn’t present extra remark when requested about their letter.

As of Could 4, the California Neighborhood Schools Chancellor’s Workplace remains to be reviewing the subsequent cycle of bachelor’s diploma program purposes and has requested a gathering with the lawmakers, in keeping with a system spokesperson. A working group, referred to as for by the Cal State chancellor, has met since mid-April to create a course of for four-year establishments to problem bachelor’s levels applications at group faculties. 

The group contains California’s four-year programs — Cal State and the College of California — in addition to the California Neighborhood Schools system and the Affiliation of Unbiased California Schools and Universities, which represents personal faculties within the state. It plans to satisfy once more Thursday, the spokesperson stated. 

Pausing the pilot would give that working group much-needed time to enhance diploma implementation and processes for addressing college system objections over new applications, stated Nathan Evans, deputy vice chancellor of educational and pupil affairs at Cal State’s chancellor’s workplace. He added that Cal State wasn’t adequately consulted when this system first launched. 

“It was very very like constructing the airplane as you are flying it,” he stated. “There was not that chance for early engagement on the statewide degree.”

Placing out fires

Feather River School, a rural group faculty in northern California, has discovered itself on the middle of dialog across the state’s pilot program.

In the beginning of final yr, Feather River made a bid to supply a bachelor’s diploma in utilized fireplace administration. 

Amid worsening local weather situations, California is experiencing its most severe firefighter shortage in years. The Sierra Nevada mountain vary, the place Feather River is positioned, is particularly exhausting hit.

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