CREATED Jan. 10, 2012
PALM DESERT - California higher education leaders are calling for a major overhaul of the state's community colleges. Their goal is improving graduation rates. But there could be unwanted consequences.
Year after year, too many students, not enough classes.
"It's pretty difficult I think probably within the first week of registration the classes I wanted take were already gone so now I have to pick up and crash a couple of classes so its been difficult even last semester was extremely hard," said student Shauna Holmes.
Now the Governing Board of California Community Colleges passing 22 recommendations they say will improve graduation rates. One of the changes would force students to enter school with a career plan, those who already meet graduation requirements like Shauna Holmes, a DJ at the radio station on campus would have to register last, allowing new students first pick.
"Well I may not have my show this semester because i'm not able to take a class that required to be part of the show," Holmes said. "It just hurts everyone, they're cuttiung everything."
The boards recommendations could mean fewer classes for students here at College of the Desert and at community colleges state wide.
Fewer recreational classes for adults not seeking a degree, but the real concern comes from lack of academic progress. Students who don't show enough progress won't get priority registration, further delaying their degree.
"There should be some place for them to go," said teacher George Koedel. "If they're shut out of some class like general education or remedial, there should be something available to them they shouldn't be turned away."
But Farley Herzek, Vice President of Academic Affairs at College of the Desert says the real issue is still the budget. 500 full time students already cut this year, Governor Brown's trigger cuts a huge concern.
"If youngsters are closed out of a post-secondary experience they are basically doomed to a life of poverty moving from one low paying job to another," Herzek said.
Recommendations meant to help access to higher education could end up back firing, turning the once open to anyone community college system into something unrecognizable.