Wake Up, South Florida! Changes are Coming!






One way or another, the "open door" policy of Miami Dade College and the twenty-seven other community colleges in Florida will be changed by August 2013.


"Two higher education reform bills, HB 7057 and SB 1720, portend some significant changes regarding the delivery of developmental education at Florida colleges. Not all the changes are bad such as being able to choose from multiple assessment instruments instead of just the PERT.  The bills also would allow for flexibility in how college prep instruction is delivered in other ways besides stand-alone courses.

The Senate bill, however, eliminates the ability of colleges to charge tuition and fees for stand-alone prep courses. It believes it will reduce student costs by not having them pay for courses that ultimately do not get applied toward their degree. It also promotes tutorial, co-requisite and other optional approaches to helping students.  But it redefines college preparatory instruction from that which is needed to help students successfully enroll in college-level courses such as ENC 1101, to that which is needed to help students succeed IN college-level instruction.  

It would also refer students who are skill deficient to adult education courses offered either at the college or though the school district. Both the House and Senate bills impact several other areas like faculty, accreditation, and common course numbering. The House bill is on the calendar for second reading in chambers.  The Senate bill is on special order calendar for April 4 to be introduced on the floor.  It has passed all committees of reference.

The Senate bill strikes at the very core of the Florida College System “open access” model and would impose a “sink or swim” mentality, de-emphasizing college success.  It also potentially adversely impacts Latino and African-American students, and all students receiving financial aid.  

Certain legislators simply believe that maybe not all persons are suited to go to college.  However, with a historical enrollment of largely returning students (young adults who have been out of school about 5 years), the proposed changes can have a major adverse impact.  

Below is a summary provided by the Division of Florida Colleges regarding the student population served at our colleges.

Students of all ages enroll in Developmental Education.
Recent high school graduates were least likely to need Developmental Education. During 2011-12, 14% of students enrolled in Developmental Education were Less than 20 years of age.  (21,371/152,389).
Nearly 4 out of 10 students taking Developmental Education were 25 years of age and over. (37.8 percent, 57,648/152,389).
Nearly one-half of all students enrolled in Developmental Education were between 20 and 24 years of age. (48.1 percent, 73,301/152,389).
Recent high school graduates were the only age group to show decreases in the need for  Developmental Education both short term  (-5.4 percent compared to last year) and longer term (-9.9 percent over 5 years).
2 out of 3 students enrolled in Developmental Education received financial aid. (65.0 percent, 99,079/152,389).
Nearly one-half of all African American students participated in Developmental Education.  (47.7 percent, 44,965/94,233).
3 out of 4 African American students in Developmental Education received financial aid. (76.9 percent, 34,561/44,965).
African American students are over-represented in Developmental Education. (29.5 percent Developmental Education & 18.0 percent lower division credit).
1 out of 3 White students participated in Developmental Education. (34.8 percent 53,051/235,954).
55 percent of White students in Developmental Education received financial aid. (29,363/53,051).
1 out of 4 Latino students are enrolled in Developmental Education. (25.9 percent, 39,477/132,159).
Two-thirds of Latino students in Developmental Education received financial aid.  (66.7 percent, 26,349/39,477)."

Source: Perception: A Weekly Legislative Update for AFC Members.

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