Coordination between Adult Schools and Community Colleges: The Legislative Analysts Office Report and the Governor’s Budget Plan

The  following comments are reprinted here by permission of the author.

Hello ESL colleagues,

I fully believe that adult schools can, and should, be connected to CCCs via a clear alignment of courses and standards, common data systems, professional development, and assessment criteria.  However, neither the governor’s nor the LAO’s proposal seems to hit the right elements that would make this happen.   I see so many equity issues:

*       considering that roughly 70% of all students entering CCCs test into basic skills (pre-collegiate) courses, the shifting of all of that need into adult schools and CCC noncredit will tax these services beyond capacity, creating an untenable system that will deny equity to many learners, ELLs in particular;

*       by declaring ESL to be solely pre-collegiate and mandating it as noncredit, the proposed changes will limit equity for ELLs who need the collegiate skills, linguistic proficiency, behaviors, and habits of mind that many of their native-speaking counterparts already have upon arrival to college (which transfer-level and collegiate ESL classes can provide). We desperately need ESL transfer-level writing AND oral communication.  If ESL is pushed entirely into noncredit, the gains that have been made via the few transfer-level classes will have been entirely erased;

*       if the Governor’s proposal goes through and adult schools are folded into CCCs, the choice to allot a paltry $300 million to CCCs for the administration of all of California’s adult schools effectively decimates equity for ELLs, most of whom will go unserved through lack of funding; they need to be funded at a level that can help them a) serve the non-college bound adequately, b) prepare the college-bound for college, and c) serve the magnitude of students who will be pushed into them.

*       by including only fiscal and no program success data as factors in these proposals, a vital source of solutions to equity for ELLs is completely sidestepped;

*       shifting all of CCC basic skills to noncredit will affect the transferability of ELLs who use ESL courses as electives and will limit ELLs’ ability to complete their pre-collegiate study due to lack of financial aid for noncredit classes;

*       eliminating the credential requirement for adult school faculty might sound like a great equalizer, but I fear that the thousands of ESL faculty who will be pushed out of credit and into noncredit will be competing for jobs at the adult schools as well.

I can’t believe so much thought has gone into these proposals, and yet so few of the ideas will actually benefit ELLs.

Leigh Anne Shaw
Associate Professor, English for Speakers of Other Languages
Coordinator, English Language Institute
President, Academic Senate 2012-2014

Skyline College – 3300 College Dr., San Bruno, CA 94066
(650) 738-4408  ShawL@smccd.edu
Our mission is to empower and transform a global community of learners.

 

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