January 23, 2023
A statewide effort to streamline transfer to California’s two public university systems is facing controversy over which classes students should be required to take at their community colleges before making the switch.
The proposed general education pathway — a list of lower-division course requirements — to transfer to the University of California and the California State University so far does not include classes in such areas as psychology, physical education, health science and child development. Community colleges are protesting that omission, claiming it will cause a collapse of enrollment in those courses and harm both faculty and students.
Carole Goldsmith, chancellor of the Central Valley’s State Center Community College District, said the proposed pathway would result in “severe unintended consequences,” causing faculty to lose course loads and making fewer courses transferable, hurting the students it was meant to help.
The situation is so “dire,” she said, that the Community College League of California, which represents the state’s 73 districts, signed a resolution in November asking officials to reconsider the omission of those classes. In December, community college presidents and chancellors in the Central Valley asked for “at the very least” an impact analysis on what the fallout would be.
But advocates, such as the Campaign for College Opportunity, say the alarm bells are being sounded prematurely and without proof that the consequences would be so bad.
The debate springs from AB 928, a state law passed in 2021 that aimed to reduce the confusion and conflicting requirements that community college students face when trying to transfer to UC and CSU. The law called for creating a single pathway of classes to increase transfers and decrease the time it takes for students to finish the first two years of college.