Concerns about funding have not been addressed
Legislation to put the Student Success Act of 2012 has moved closer to becoming law, but not without the strong opposition of the Community College Association, which continues to point out that the bill does not provide the funding to produce student success nor does it even contain the definition of student success itself.
Responding to the suggestions of numerous community college faculty and student organizations, state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) amended SB 1456 enough to pass through the Assembly Higher Education Committee in mid-June. Although the changes persuaded some organizations to change their previous opposition to support of the bill, the amendments did not meet the concerns of CCA leaders.
CCA President Ron Norton Reel told the committee that although the bill mandates that each student meet with a counselor to establish a course of action or education plan, it doesn’t provide the funds to hire the counselors needed.
“There’s no mandate to hire any additional counselors. In order to get a student-counselor ratio down to 1:1000 students, we’d have to hire 1,900 more full-time counselors. If you want that down to 1:500, we’d have to hire 2,800 counselors.”
Reel also testified, “There is no student success definition in this bill, not only is there no definition, there is no strategy provided for measuring student success of a community college student.”
CCA has been concerned about inequities in the legislation as well. Students who have been educated on how to get through the system will have an easier time than students who are more disadvantaged.
Reel appealed to the committee to wait until resources are provided before passing the bill. Those objections will now be carried to the Appropriations Committee.
Reel was joined by a number of community college leaders, including CCA Vice President Lynette Nyaggah, Secretary De Wayne Sheaffer, Cypress College economics professor Fola Odebunmi and Citrus College business professor John Fincher. Several other professors and students voiced their opposition to the bill.