On March 21, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) held a news conference to introduce SB 520, a bill that would ultimately allow private vendors to offer higher education courses when the state's university systems are not able to meet student demand. The bill directs the three higher education segments to identify the 50 most "bottlenecked" courses, creates a statewide pool of these classes, and — after a standardized review and approval process — lets private vendors offer these classes for credit.
These courses would be intended to supplement what the higher education systems are providing through the use of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).
While the bill is still in the initial stages of development and consideration, our higher education affiliate, the California Faculty Association, is very concerned about the impact on students, faculty and quality education and the unintended consequences of one-size-fits-all legislation.
CTA will be discussing this bill at its upcoming State Council meeting in April.