The largest public university system in the country
It turns out presidents and governors aren’t the only ones who can sign executive orders – California State Chancellor Timothy P. White did the “honors” declaring that English and mathematics proficiency would be determined through other measures.
In a state where eight out of ten community college students already have to take remedial classes to achieve college entry skills, the Public Policy Institute of California has found that a mere 16 percent earn a certificate or complete a two-year associates degree within six years.
The move is in response to the perceived need for the state-run universities to increase their admission and graduation rates.
Also, the argument has been made that placement exams that test proficiency in English and math discriminate against immigrants, persons of color and lower-income students.
Many educators, however, believe that the tests help measure a student’s ability to understand the material that will be covered in college level classes and communicate effectively, both in school and in a career after graduation.
Additionally, as more students are focusing on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses, a foundation in math should be a prerequisite for freshman classes.
California, always first in line to set a precedent no matter how ill considered, will be diminishing the value of a degree from any of its public institutions of “higher” learning by the move, but that seems of little interest to the administrators who run the system – who probably haven’t been in a classroom since their own graduation.
California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley told the Los Angeles Times, “standardized placement exams have handicapped hundreds of thousands of our students… particularly targeting low-income students and students of color… and in doing so have made it harder for them to complete their college educations.”
One wonders how waiting until college to obtain a command of the language the classes are taught in could make it easier for students to graduate, or how needing to learn basic algebra as a math major is a recipe for success in college
But it is doubtful that what is best for the student has been entered into an equation that is all about bringing more tuition into the state coffers.California is dumbing down higher education by doing away with basic requirements for English and Math. Once again, California is leading the nation in wrong headed moves.