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

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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CTA president: Current education funding method is a guarantee to 'keep us at awful'

California Budget

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Gov. Jerry Brown discusses the cuts he has already made to help reduce the state's budget deficit from nearly $20 billion last year to a gap of about $9.2 billion as he unveiled his proposed $92.5 billion 2012-13 state budget at a Capitol news conference in Sacramento, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012. California faces a smaller budget deficit in the coming fiscal year but will require nearly $5 billion in cuts to public education if voters reject Brown's plan to raise taxes in the fall.

The California Teachers Association president said Friday the state's current approach to education funding is a "guarantee to keep us at awful."

"Even though everybody is talking about protecting public education, the reality is protecting public education at current levels basically is a guarantee to keep us at awful," said CTA President Dean Vogel speaking passionately about the issue Friday.

Gov. Jerry Brown's 2012 budget proposal, which was released Thursday, hinges on whether voters approve a tax increase he is trying to put on the November ballot. If not, it would cut a total of $5.2 billion in public education funds: $4.8 billion from K-12 and community colleges funding, and $200 million each from the Cal State University and University of California systems.

"It doesn't matter how you look at it, and it doesn't matter which budget you look at," Vogel said. "It underscores the very real, just dramatic affects that this loss of revenue has had, not only on public education, but all basic community infrastructure needs...That revenue has to be part of the solution. You can't balance the kind of deficits that we've been dealing with by continually cutting."

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