So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

New chancellor for California community colleges

The search for a new Chancellor of california’s 112 community colleges is over. Brice Harris starts his job as head of the nation's largest public college system on November 6.

Harris is a veteran administrator. He retired last month after 16 years with the from the Los Rios Community College district in Norther California; it includes the American River, Cosumnes River, Folsom Lake and Sacramento city colleges. He’ll succeed Jack Scott, who retired earlier this month.

As chancellor, Harris will receive $198,500 a year plus benefits.

Statewide the system is experiencing massive financial and academic crises: Over the past four years, state budget cuts have forced schools to scale back almost a quarter of its course offerings, reduce enrollment from 2.9 million to 2.4 million students, and it’s more than doubled student fees.

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California's community colleges change their priorities

California University Cuts

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, told lawmakers that budget cuts to the community colleges, have increased class size and made it more difficult for students to get into classes while appearing before a joint Legislative hearing at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, Dec. 7, 2009.

At the California Community Colleges — the world's largest such system with 112 campuses serving about 2.6 million students — only about 54 percent of the students earn a certificate, a degree or transfer to a four-year institution.

That number drops further for students who are African-American (42 percent) or Latino (43 percent).

Here's another stat: Last year 137,000 students were flat-out turned away by the system. They couldn't even get into one course.

Well, no longer. Or that's what the system hopes.

The governing board of the Californa Community Colleges approved a set of reforms (22, to be exact) Monday that aims to streamline the path to student graduation, certification and transfers. Recommendations include prioritizing registration and fee-waivers for students who have declared these education goals.

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