No More Second Chances at SJSU

There is something really wrong with the education system in California - and the most vulnerable college students and the community colleges are going to take the brunt of the latest budget cuts. San Jose State just announced that because of the budget cuts, it will no longer support remedial classes, saving up to $10 million annually.

What was a surprise to me was that of the approximately 1,700 freshmen students who take remedial English each fall, between one-third and one-half typically fail the class and take it again the following semester. Fewer students fail remedial math and need to retake it, but until Spring 2010, they could retake the class at San Jose State University.

Starting in the Spring of 2010, students will each have only one chance to pass those remedial classes - and if they fail, they will be told they must go off campus - to community colleges or private classes to master the material. This new policy seems to conflict with the CSU policy that requires they accept students who meet the grade-point average (GPA) and coursework requirements, half of whom apparently lack the skills for college-level work.

So whose fault is it that students coming out of high school lack the grammar, vocabulary, writing and math skills required to complete college-level work? If they cannot pass the classes at a state college, then they go to community colleges, who are also facing the budget cuts, and will have more students than they can handle - ending in frustrated students, faculty and staff.

Bottom line, fewer young adults get a college education ... and the gap between those who succeed and those who do not, gets wider. I can only say thank you Governor Schwarzenegger - "I hope you are happy now!"
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