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Jack Scott's Message To Lawmakers - Feb. 1, 2012

PRESS RELEASE
February 1, 2012
Contact: Paige Marlatt Dorr
Office: 916.327.5356 Cell: 916.601.8005

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott Tells Lawmakers that Reform Plan Would Improve Graduation and Transfer Rates and Help Close the Achievement Gap Student Success Task Force recommendations will make access more equitable.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott told a joint legislative committee today that recommendations developed by the Student Success Task Force will help more students reach their educational goals on time and help close the achievement gap for disadvantaged students in the 112-college system.

"This is a comprehensive plan that will result in more students completing certificates and degrees and transferring to four-year institutions," said Chancellor Scott, who oversees the nation's largest system of higher education. "Completion matters. It matters for students - whose earnings increase as they become more educated -- and for our state as a whole. Our economy is increasingly demanding college-educated workers."

Scott, who testified in an informational hearing held by the Assembly Higher Education and Senate Education committees, said that better assessment of incoming students, mandatory orientation and education plans and enrollment priorities articulated by the Student Success Task Force will help students focus on their goals and guide them on their way to achieving a certificate, degree or transfer.

Students, especially historically under-represented students, who have been shut out of community colleges due to budget cuts would have a better chance of entry to the system under the proposed enrollment priorities. In 2009-10 alone, 133,000 first-time students couldn't get into a single course because colleges were forced to slash course offerings.

"The de facto rationing system is disproportionately harming first-time students, and our data show that today's first-time students are more racially and ethnically diverse than continuing students," Scott said. "Historically under-represented students would benefit from the enrollment priorities recommended by the Student Success Task Force."

The task force was convened as a result of Senate Bill 1143 (Liu)<http://www.leginfo.ca.gov/pub/09-10/bill/sen/sb_1101-1150/sb_1143_bill_20100928_chaptered.pdf>, which required the California Community Colleges Board of Governors to establish a panel to examine best practices for promoting student success and then to adopt a plan for improving degree and completion rates within the California Community Colleges. The Board of Governors unanimously endorsed the 22 recommendations last month.

The task force's recommendations will make community colleges more responsive to the needs of students and the economy. The plan rebalances priorities to focus on the core missions of remedial education, workforce preparation, certificate and degree attainment and transfer. Students who make progress toward meeting their goals will be rewarded with priority enrollment, and colleges will adjust course offerings according to the needs of students based on their education plans. The recommendations also will improve the student assessment process and promote better use of technology to help students reach their educational goals on time.

The California Community Colleges<http://californiacommunitycolleges.cccco.edu/> is the largest system of higher education in the nation. It is composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.6 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills courses in English and math, and prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and universities. The Chancellor's Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges.

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