New bill sets unrealistic goals

Infograph by Lindsey Maeda


By Erik Luna


With Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of Senate Bill 1456, known as the Student Success Act of 2012, administration at East Los Angeles College is worried that the act is setting unrealistic goals.

According to the Vice President of Student Services Oscar Valeriano, one of the main goals of the legislation is to get every student to come up with an educational plan.

“This is much easier said than done,” Valeriano said.

Transfer Center Director and a Co-Chair of the Student Success Committee Paulina Palomino said, ELAC doesn’t have the necessary resources to pull off what the new act is proposing.

“We have around 38,000 students and we don’t have enough counselors to meet that need,” Palomino said.

“They have very good intentions and there is a committee at the (Los Angeles Community College District) to try and figure out how to deal with these changes, but we definitely need more                      funding,” she said.

Students will also have to keep up with academic standards to be eligible for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver. “This act is both good and bad, because we want to help you get out of here,” Valeriano said.

“But, we have to look at the restrictions this is putting on other students. For example, if you fail your math class, your grade point average will fall and you will no longer be eligible for the fee waiver,” Valeriano stressed.

The act, which came from the Student Success Task Force, was signed late September.

It will also change the matriculation process, to include the application for admission, orientation and pre-orientation services, assessment and counseling upon enrollment and a post-enrollment evaluation of a student’s progress.

“In essence (it) re-purposes matriculation, meaning that (it) will now focus solely on orientation, assessment and counseling components,” Matriculation Coordinator Suzette Morales-Guerra said.

“Statewide and district work groups will be convening to develop proposals to Title 5 matriculation revisions, new allocation formulas and revised MIS data elements,” Morales-Guerra said.

Morales-Guerra also said, that the school will have to wait until March or April 2013 for the Board of Governors first reading of the new regulations.

According to Student Success Task Force’s final report, educational plans are essential for whether a student is in college to graduate, transfer or obtain a certificate. He added that expanded resources for career exploration are essential in student success.

Valeriano said the state is talking about making a common assessment for the 112 community colleges in California.

“We don’t have a common assessment in our own district. Our cut-off scores are different. So this is a major feat. How are we going to get everyone to agree on a common assessment for California?” Valeriano said.

“What they are saying is that 50 percent of community college students are not graduating or transferring within six years. That’s a long time to be here,” Valeriano said.

“That’s what this legislation is trying to prevent, but we are trying to see how to work with all these changes,” he said.

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