Gov. Brown Signs Student Success Act of 2012 into Law, Ushering
in Improvements at California Community Colleges New law will help students complete educational goals, bolster economy
The legislation authored by Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) will help more California community college students reach their goal of earning a degree, certificate, career advancement or transferring to a four-year institution.
Acting California Community Colleges Chancellor Erik Skinner said the law will usher in some of the most significant improvements to the community college system in more than a decade.
“Gov. Brown signed this bill into law because he knows it will put more students on
the path to completing their educational goals and that will make California more
competitive economically,” Skinner said. “This bill came from the Student Success
Task Force that was convened almost two years ago and is resulting in some much needed
changes to the way we educate our students.”
The Student Success Act of 2012 will:
Restructure the way student support services are delivered to improve the assistance that students receive at the beginning of their educational experience. The bill targets existing student services resources to support orientation, assessment and education planning services and lays the groundwork to expand these services as more resources become available.
Provide that campuses using an assessment instrument for student placement utilize a statewide system of common assessment once available, to improve consistency and efficiency within the 112-campus system.
Require colleges receiving student support service funds to post a student success
scorecard to clearly communicate progress in improving completion rates for all students
and closing the achievement gap among historically under-represented students.
Require students whose fees are waived because of their economic need to meet minimum academic standards.
Lowenthal’s bill, co-authored by Sen. Carol Liu, D-La Canada Flintridge, enjoyed support from a broad coalition of students, business leaders and social justice organizations. The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges also supported the bill as did the Student Senate for California Community Colleges.
“Our goal - our primary goal - has to be one offering students a better path to graduation,” Lowenthal said. “It is unacceptable that more than 50 percent of community college students are not graduating or transferring within six years. This bill is the first step toward a refocused community college system that is rededicated to student success and achievement.”
“By refocusing matriculation services, SB 1456 will help more students to identify their goals and move ahead in their college experience, without their colleges having to counter-productively cut other programs they may need,” said Mendocino College student Aaron Bielenberg, a senator with the Student Senate for California Community Colleges. “Furthermore, by demanding that students must maintain minimum academic standards to receive the Board of Governors Fee Waiver, and providing the support and safety nets necessary to do so, we incentivize students to work harder.”
The law will be phased-in over a reasonable period of time as funding allows. The California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office have already begun work on implementing many of the recommendations of the Student Success Task Force. For more information, go to http://bit.ly/PP5FSY.
The eight Recommendations of the Student Success Task Force
Increase College and Career Readiness
1.1. Collaborate with K-12 to jointly develop common standards for college and career readiness
Strengthen Support for Entering Students
2.1. Develop and implement common centralized diagnostic assessments
2.2. Require students to participate in diagnostic assessment, orientation and the development of an educational plan
2.3. Develop and use technology applications to better guide students in educational processes
2.4. Require students showing a lack of college readiness to participate in support resources
2.5. Require students to declare a program of study early in their academic careers
Incentivize Successful Student Behaviors
3.1. Adopt system-wide enrollment priorities reflecting the core mission of community colleges
3.2. Require students receiving Board of Governors Fee Waivers to meet various conditions and requirements
3.3. Provide students the opportunity to consider attending full time
3.4. Require students to begin addressing basic skills deficiencies in their first year
Align Course Offerings to Meet Student Needs
4.1. Give highest priority for courses advancing student academic progress
Improve the Education of Basic Skills Students
5.1. Support the development of alternative basic skills curriculum
5.2. Develop a comprehensive strategy for addressing basic skills education in California
Revitalize and Re-Envision Professional Development
6.1. Create a continuum of mandatory professional development opportunities
6.2. Direct professional development resources toward improving basic skills instruction and support services
Enable Efficient Statewide Leadership & Increase Coordination Among Colleges
7.1. Develop and support a strong community college system office
7.2. Set local student success goals consistent with statewide goals
7.3. Implement a student success scorecard
7.4. Develop and support a longitudinal student record system
Align Resources with Student Success Recommendations
8.1. Encourage categorical program streamlining and cooperation
8.2. Invest in the new Student Support Initiative
8.3. Encourage innovation and flexibility in the delivery of basic skills instruction