Recognizing that results are still coming in, the League offers a brief recap of some of the 2018 midterm election results and what it will likely mean for our sector. With strong majorities in the California Legislature, we anticipate Governor-elect Gavin Newsom to pursue several of his signature education initiatives that he refers to as “cradle-to-career.”
California’s next Governor is in the enviable position to strengthen local economies in rural, urban, and suburban areas statewide, enhance employment opportunities for low and middle-income individuals and their families, and support growing industries in need of skilled and educated employees. And the Governor can do this early in his term and enjoy the political benefits of ribbon-cutting ceremonies at the state’s most popular higher education institutions: California’s community colleges.
With a full 60% completing 30 units in their first year of enrollment data show that sports benefit our students immensely. And that our student-athletes complete their degrees at a much higher rate than the average community college student.
As devastating fires rage across our state, California’s community colleges have served as evacuation centers, American Red Cross Shelters, and mission control for Cal Fire and other emergency service agencies and personnel. To help support our colleagues and fellow Californians in their time of need, both Shasta College and Mendocino College have set up funds for donations and help.
Last month in a speech to workers at a training facility in Ohio, President Trump professed ignorance about what community colleges do: “I don’t know what that means, a community college.” The president continued, “Call it vocational and technical. People know what that means. They don’t know what a community college means.”
Each year, as we prepare for the National Legislative Summit (NLS), I consider the cost/benefit analysis of this 3,000-mile trek to our nation’s capital to advocate on behalf of our students and our 72 districts.
The equity mission of California’s community colleges necessitates liberating the 72 districts and 114 colleges to decide locally whether or not to offer baccalaureate degrees. California’s public community colleges are the most ethnically and socioeconomically diverse higher education institutions in the state, and their geographic reach—almost 90 percent of Californians live within 10 miles of a community college—is unparalleled.
During the Free Speech in Focus Workshop on Friday, September 22nd at Pasadena City College, I had the honor of participating in a panel discussion alongside Cal State Fullerton Political Science Professor, Jodi Balma; Dr. Earic Dixon-Peters, Vice President of Student Services at Pierce College; Attorney Sharon Ormond from Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo; and Peter Eliasburg, Chief Counsel for the ACLU of Southern California.
As the contested holiday of Labor Day is recognized on this first Monday in September, California’s Community Colleges are at an interesting point in their century-old history especially as it pertains to our mission and students’ professional lives. (I use the term professional life rather than workforce both to avoid the connotations of workforce as managed employees in replaceable positions, and to focus on the distinction between private life and the hours for which individuals receive compensation for their labor).
In June, California community college CEOs gathered for the 2017 CEO Leadership Academy, designed specifically to address the unique challenges and opportunities confronted by leaders of California Community Colleges.