New law changes California Community Colleges

Isabel Enciso, Reporter

AB 705 bill is fixing some problems, but also creating new ones in the California Community College District. This bill requires community colleges to maximize student success in math or English and complete transfer-level courses within a one-year timeframe. Meaning, community colleges will be using high school performance data as a primary measure on where students should be placed in transfer-level classes. Colleges would have to use one or more of the following measures: the overall high school GPA, high school courses taken, and the high school course grade.

This led to the removal of Academic Development (ACDV) classes that had previously been offered to help students achieve their degrees and goals faster instead of taking more remedial class.

“It’s good that the intentions were to give more equality to college students, but many minority students need and depend on those Academic Development classes. I believe the results of the AB 705 bill will do more damage to students rather than help,” BC student Hunter Moore said.

AB 705 has catalyzed tremendous changes in colleges in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and Central Valley areas by doubling the proportion of transfer-level courses they offered. These transfer-courses have increased in English from 44 percent to 88 percent and math at 33 percent to 71 percent between 2018 and 2019.

Even with the transfer-level course offered, many students can have an 11th grade GPA, but have no idea on how to do math or English work, at the transfer-level class or college.

“It’s important to have Academic Development in order to understand the next level on where a student wants to go next. To have reading and math fundamentals to move on and to stay up with their classmates is a big part in a student’s life in college,” said Claire Lahorque, a BC mathematics professor.

Going directly into a transfer-level course would take a toll on many incoming or returning students who need a refresher on English and math. Not all students can handle immediately going in a college-level course, especially in a community college.

“Overall I think it’s good for people who would like to get ahead in their degree and not want to be stuck in remedial courses that aren’t necessary for them,” BC student Ethan Williford said.

This new bill was created to help students who wanted to get their degree and achieve the goals they had set. With having one out of five students ever to complete a degree, some believe that the AB 705 will help increase graduation rates and lower dropout rates.