By Breanna Fierro
Many students attend community college with the hope of transferring to a four-year university, but removing required courses that are essential to cognitive development is just lazy and irresponsible.
Assembly Bill No.928 was approved by Governor Newsom on October 6, 2021 and aims to establish a single lower division general education pathway on or before December 21, 2023.
AB-982 will establish a uniform undergraduate General Education pattern and program for the University of California, Cal State University and California Community College institutions to adhere to.
The California State Legislature believes that some courses should only be offered at four-year universities because they don’t have a practical application at community colleges.
AB-928, provides instruction to students in the 116 college campuses run by community college districts throughout the state. It also provides its students a pathway connected to elements like the Associate degree for transfer.
AB-928 enables students to use community college academic credits toward a bachelor’s degree at a four-year university.
Where transfer degree major pathways exist, the bill requires community colleges to put students who list a transfer objective on their obligatory education plans on the tranfer degree pathway if they haven’t chosen to opt out and if one is available for their selected major.
AB-928 is neither effective nor beneficial to future generations of students when it is dramatically cutting opportunities for education and growth.
While these opportunities are addressed as “unnecessary barriers” under the assembly bill.
This new legislation is meant to ease the path for future community college students who pursue transfering to a four-year university, but it is more damaging than it is beneficial.
Recently, multiple bills surrounding education have been reviewed and passed, but one bill that stands out the most and could have potentially influenced the creation of AB-928 is AB-1705.
While equity may have been the goal of AB-1705, the bill devalued diversity and the role community colleges have traditionally played for returning students.
The bill is based on an unrealistic tunnel vision involving expectations that all students are able to earn degrees within two years.
Kinesiology professor Sara Ortiz, is also opposed to AB-928, because of the conflict the bill will have on her department’s courses in the future.
“I believe that health and kinesiology courses are some of the most important classes a student can take during their educational path, as it can affect their entire life,” Ortiz said.
She believes it is essential for students to gain knowledge in nutrition and exercise. This information helps students in their efforts to combat cardiovascular diseases, depression, lack of sleep, anxiety, obesity and may even boost self-esteem.
AB-928 affects both students and faculty.
“If we have to reduce our course offerings, then we will have to reduce our faculty as well. This bill doesn’t just affect the kinesiology department.
Faculty in Communication Studies, Counseling/Human Development, Social Sciences, Arts, Humanities, and Math should be concerned as well,” Ortiz said.
She said AB 928 combines two general education transfer pathways already in place for students at California Community Colleges into a single track to the CSU or UC system.
The issue is that they are two distinct institutions with two different sets of specifications. Therefore, it is not advisable to merge the transfer pathway into one.
Kinesiology professor Lindsay Costello, said there would also be issues with finances within the new law.
Although no additional funding is connected to this law, the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office estimates that it would cost each school an average of $1,150,000.
The bill will also allow community colleges to have access to funds appropriated in the Budget act of 2021, or budget acts to support the implementation of California Community College Guided Pathways Grant Program towards the new bill.
In addition to costing colleges a lot of money, this bill places students immediately on a transfer degree pathway.
Many students who may not plan on transferring or who may hope to transfer to a UC, a private school, or an out-of-state college are ignored by AB 928, particularly place-bound and first-generation students.