Posted by Becky Sanders, a resident of the Ventura neighborhood, on Jun 29, 2012 at 11:04 am
Another nail in the coffin of liberal arts education for our young people. Cancel Chinese, really? When 1/4 of the world is Chinese? And cancel the radio? And Creative Writing? Wow, languages and effective communication skills are the backbone of humanities - train for jobs yes, but you also need to train for life so that when there are no jobs you can cope. All the money that is concentrated in private hands nowadays in this country. I really miss the days of public money collected based on ability to contribute for the public benefit of all. With the middle class and lower class bearing the brunt of the tax burden in this country, there is a wide reservoir of potential revenue not being tapped. The rich are being taxed at historic all time lows. We all know this, why we, as a nation, do nothing about it, is sad.
Posted by Ian, a resident of Menlo Park, on Jun 29, 2012 at 2:43 pm
What really makes me sad is seeing these courses get cut while certain other courses remain. Calculus, Trigonometry, Finite Mathematics, Discreet Mathematics, Statistics, do we really need five different "college level" math courses? Why not eliminate the first four and just force students to take Stats. Its not like it would be any detriment to the staff. I had the same instructor for my Algebra I, Algebra II and Stats classes so there are already teachers who are pulling double or even triple duty.
Posted by Foothill Mom, a resident of the South of Midtown neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2012 at 2:34 am
Ian, Foothill needs to offer all those different math courses for students who are transferring into science and engineering curricula at four-year schools. One of my sons, who is transferring to UC Santa Cruz in Computer Science in the fall, was expected to have taken 3 quarters of Calculus, Discrete Math, and Linear Algebra before entering UCSC - this is what a Comp Sci major would be expected to take in freshman and sophomore years there. Other universities have different requirements (some add Differential Equations and/or Statistics, for example). All the ones my son took are also required for the AA degree in Comp Sci from Foothill, the last time I looked.
And math requirements for students majoring in fields like Physics, Math, and engineering are even greater. Foothill needs to offer more than just what is needed for everyone's General Ed requirements. I haven't seen any math offerings at Foothill that would be out of line for the first two years in a standard STEM field at a four-year school.
Posted by Joe, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2012 at 10:20 am
The California Community Colleges (CCC) have grown to the point that they spend vast sums of taxpayers dollars, but don’t produce much to justify those expenditures. The transfer rates to 4-year (now 6+year) institutions is difficult to track, but may be as low as 15%. Moreover, with the graduation rates of most 4/6-year colleges/unis now at/about 50%, the graduation rate for CCC students most likely is about 7%. Given that billions of dollars disappears into the pockets of teaching/administrative staff, the CCCs have become little more than employment engines for people who don’t seem to have much to offer society—particularly the productive private sector.
This is not fully the CCCs problem, since it has become clear that the K-12 public education system is not producing students capable of doing college-level work, for the most part. Remedial English/Math programs at the CSU schools, and the CCCs, have become so burdensome that the CSU schools have been booting students out that do not pass the remedial courses quickly. The basic question as to why these students were allowed to enter CSU schools may be answered by pointing out that the meddling Legislature might have mandated those students being admitted. Unfortunately, it’s clear that the Legislature is clueless about education—and the state is in constant peril until control of the education system is removed from the Legislatures fumbling hands.
The underlying issue as to why the public must provide high-cost education services to anyone with a pulse is another question that needs public attention. Throwing untold billions/trillions into the black hole of public education, that produces nothing but demands for “more money” seems to be not only futile, but suicidal The notion that everyone needs a college education makes no sense. Why do garbage men, or tree trimmers, or grocery clerks, or retail sales representatives need a BS/BA? Anyone who makes such a claim quickly should be carted off to the local loony-bin.
There is no reason that distance learning should not be offered to people who are unlikely candidates for completing 4/6+year degrees. Distance learning techniques can be adopted to help people engage in self-analysis, to provide them with various analytic results as to their temperament, and ultimately, their suitability, to be successful in the kinds of environments that are found in/on/around college campuses. What is suggested here is that at least half of the people who enter college/unis tend not to finish. This failure translates into high costs for the individual, as well as the taxpayers. So, it would seem only reasonable to recognize this fact, and return to former days where the barrier-to-entry was high, with the likelihood of success being high.
With the cost of educating students on the CAL/CSU campuses now costing over $30K (and no doubt more if all of the costs were considered), the taxpayer can not be expected to pick up the tab for these expenses for everyone (including illegal immigrants) who wants to sit in a classroom, and avoid getting a job.
There is also a serious problem with “Mission Creep” in the CCCs. Too many people see political/personal gain by pushing the boundaries of the CCCs beyond their original intent. While there might be some argument for some of these expansions, it doesn’t take long to see a lot of money being spent with little gain to show for the effort.
The CCCs are long overdue for a hard look at their purpose, and their execution. California can no longer afford to promise the sky to anyone who happens to be walking around, wondering “what do I do next?”
Posted by Will Schwartz, a resident of the Greater Miranda neighborhood, on Jun 30, 2012 at 2:02 pm
I learned my creative writing chops in a summer school class from Helen Tognetti, biggest influence in my life. Also did some time in the radio building. Performed as an actor in "The Music Man", "My Sister Eileen" and "Arsenic and Old Lace" back in 1982. Do you know who I am?