Volume 47, Number 1
Courses plagued by long waiting lists
With long lines outside their classroom doors, community college instructors are stretched to the max in trying to deliver the promise of higher education to thousands of students. So say delegates to the Community College Association’s Fall Conference.
“We have more students because they are closing down sites, and long waiting lists,” said Patricia Armendariz, a part-time instructor of English as a Second Language at Santa Ana College and member of the Rancho Santiago Centennial Education Faculty Association.
“It’s like the opening of a movie at a theater. Our students are out of work, they can’t get into their classes and they just keep lining up,” she said.
At Porterville College, funding has been frozen, entire sections have been eliminated, and programs have been cut.
“In order to keep our nursing program, we had to cut the LVN (Licensed Vocational Nursing) program and reduce our psychiatric technician program,” said Ann Marie Wagstaff, an English professor and member of the Kern Community College Chapter who attended the CCA Fall Conference.
Mt. San Antonio College Faculty Association member Manuel Castillejos reported that his Spanish classes now have waiting lists of up to 30 students, when they used to have five at most.“It’s disheartening,” Castillejos said. “Students tell us they want to graduate but that it may take four or five years.”
Loss of access
Because so many of the California State University campuses are impacted, more and more students are streaming into the community colleges. The budget for California Community Colleges has been cut $313 million for 2011–12, which is on top of $800 million in cuts in the past three years. An estimated 140,000 students will lose access due to course reductions and the elimination of training programs. This momentum is also causing a ripple effect on an institution whose missions is to offer academic and vocational education at the lower division level for both recent high school graduates and those returning to school.
“They are pushing out the students who are the most in need,” said Lynn Shaw, instructor in the Electrical Technology program at Long Beach City College and president of the faculty association. “It’s breaking our hearts to turn students away.”