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Student Success Task Force: Report On BOG Agenda - Jan. 9, 2012


January 9, 2012

Dear Coleagues,

Today, the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges will consider the report of the Task Force on Student Success, which was created pursuant to legislation adopted by the Legislature in 2010. You can watch the hearing online, and the report is expected to be considered right after lunch.

The final report was adopted unanimously by the task force, which consisted of faculty, administrators, a trustee, a student, and community representatives. For that reason, I will be urging the Board of Governors to adopt the report and transmit it to the Legislature before the March 1 deadline required by law.

I know there is a great deal of angst, some of which I share and some of which is based on previous versions, about the implementation of some of the recommendations in the report. These concerns are completely understandable in this time of rationing and new threat of an additional $286 million in base budget cuts if temporary taxes are not approved. Others argue that it is because of these cuts that the report's recommendations must be adopted.

It is essential to see today as a starting point. The adoption of the report does not change a single law or mandate any practice on community colleges. Each element of implementation will require further action by the Legislature, Board of Governors, Chancellor or local districts. The League will be at the table for each of these implementation conversations in Sacramento, and I urge you to do so locally. We will evaluate the impact on our diverse array of districts and our student body mosaic. Most policy changes have both upsides and downsides--otherwise they would be existing policy--and we will weigh each of them thoughtfully and communicate with you about them and carefully consider your feedback.

Now, it's time to be frank. Higher education has taken a $2 billion cut in the current fiscal year alone. The budget proposed last week would cut $302 million from Cal Grants, and triggered cuts should taxes not pass would eviscerate another $928 million from the three public segments. It is simply unthinkable...irrational...unconscionable.

That said, it would be also be unconscionable for community college leaders to pretend as if the emperor is still wearing clothes. We must concomitantly continue to raise our voice against the cuts but also look at what we need to change given the budget reality. I commend the Chancellor and the task force for boldly doing so, and for providing us a report that will enable us to have a frank converesation.

Here is the testimony that I will provide to the Board of Governors this afternoon:

"Last year, with a vision on success, equity and access, the League published A 2020 Vision for Student Success which called for increasing community college completions by 1 million, eliminating the achievement gap and closing the participation rate gap.

The League is supportive of the focus of the Student Success Task Force report and recognizes the common themes and recommended policy and practice changes between A 2020 Vision for Student Success and the Task Force report. The League encourages the Board of Governors to accept the Task Force's report and transmit it to the Legislature before March 1, 2012. We recognize that there are specific questions and concerns over some the Task Force recommendations. The League will continue to work closely with all districts and constituent groups on implementing statutes, regulations and funding changes to ensure local control and to maintain our collective focus on student success."



Scott Lay
President and Chief Executive Officer, The League
Orange Coast College '94

Community College League of California
2017 O Street, Sacramento, California 95811
916.444.8641 . www.ccleague.org

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Pippa Gibson
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Last Updated: 1/17/12