Connect with us

Education

Popular College Choice for Black Students Survives Lawmaker’s Shutdown Attempt

Although, Calbright survived this year’s Legislative attempt to close it, those who oppose it have not given up. They emphasize that Calbright leaders must deliver on its mission on the timetable provided in the audit report and meet the milestones the Legislature established when the college was created.

Published

on

Stock Photo of Man on Computer; Photo Courtesy of Google

When the California Legislature passed the state’s 2021-2022 budget last month, lawmakers voted to defund Calbright College, the only statewide college that is completely digital.

However, after negotiations with Gov. Gavin Newsom, the college’s funding has been reinstated.

But Senate Bill 129, the budget trailer bill Newsom signed on July 12, contains language saying that any legislation passed that eliminates the college would be binding.

Calbright College is California’s 115th community college and it is currently tuition free.

The idea for a community college offering only online programs statewide was the brainchild of former Gov. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr.

He believed increasing online course availability would make college more accessible and affordable for working adults. He envisioned it as another public option for Californians between ages 25 and 34 that would help them improve their work skills and allow them to earn certifications to move into better-paying jobs not requiring a college degree.

African American students are overrepresented in Calbright’s student body. About 23% of its students are Black. At traditional community colleges in the state, African Americans represent just 5.9% of students.

Black students are also overrepresented in the state’s for-profit institutions, where they are 18% of students. These institutions can cost up to nine times more per unit than a community college. Students incur higher debt and student loan default rates are higher. Course completion rates for students across these institutions are some of the lowest.

When the Legislature passed the California Online Community College Act in 2018, Calbright was given seven years — from July 2018 through June 2025 — to build a portfolio of programs and support infrastructure for adult students seeking to improve their job and financial status.  The Act appropriated $100 million in state funds for startup costs, and initially about $20 million annually was allocated for operating expenses.

Currently, Calbright offers four programs at no cost to California residents – Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Platform Administration (Sales Force Administrator), Information Technology Support (A+)Cyber security (Security+), and Medical Coding for Professional Services. 

These are competency-based education programs that are self-paced and not constrained by academic calendars like traditional community colleges. Upon completion, students can take an industry recognized exam for a Certificate of Competency that would qualify them for jobs in their field of study.

To Calbright’s supporters, including Brown, Newsom, California Community Colleges (CCC) Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and the California Community Colleges Board of Governors, the college has the potential to become the public solution to costly, predatory for-profit institutions that target adults and low-income workers and saddles them with excessive student loan debt

Since its inception, Calbright has had detracters. Much of its opposition comes from the community college faculty union. Critics, including many Legislators argue that Calbright programs are duplicative of those offered at traditional community colleges and that the millions of dollars allocated to it would be better used by the state’s underfunded community colleges.

Although Calbright began offering programs in October 2019, by February 2020 its critics requested a legislative audit to assess its progress toward creating online programs, enrolling students, building relationships with employers and collaborating with other community colleges.

The results of the audit, which cost the state over $300,000, were published in May 2021. In the letter accompanying the Calbright audit report, California State Auditor Elaine Howle revealed “It is behind in accomplishing key milestones and must act quickly to demonstrate its ability to achieve its mission.”

She explained, “A primary reason why Calbright’s progress is not on track is that its former executive team failed to develop and execute effective strategies for launching the college.”

Howle also said many Calbright executives left during its first year due to leadership failures.

“Calbright has struggled to adequately enroll the students it was intended to serve, took longer than it should have to develop a student support system, and did not adequately partner with employers in the development of its educational programs,” she added.

But, the audit also pointed out that Calbright’s new leadership has initiated actions to address the deficiencies that were uncovered.

Currently, Calbright offers African American students a tuition-free alternative for gaining new job skills certificates. Unlike students taking courses at for-profit colleges, Calbright students who are unsuccessful in gaining sought-after credentials are not severely financially penalized.

Calbright’s critics have pushed back on Howle’s assessment that “Calbright’s potential value to the State is significant.” They also have failed to acknowledge that their most repeated complaint against the college is disputed in the audit’s finding that “Calbright’s pathways are not duplicative when compared to the other programs we reviewed.”

In February 2021, before the legislative audit report was released, Assembly Bill 1432, an act to make Calbright inoperative at the end of the 2022-23 academic year, was introduced by Assemblymember Evan Low (D-Silicon Valley) and co-authored by Assemblymember Jose Medina (D-Riverside).

On May 6, before the audit report was published, the Assembly passed AB 1432 by unanimous vote (71-0). The bill was sent to the Senate for approval, but the Senate Education Committee decided not to hear it at its July 14 meeting. That killed any chance for the bill to be enacted this year.

No comment was provided by Committee Chair Senator Connie M. Leyva (D – Chino) when California Black Media reached out to find out why the bill was not heard.

According to the budget deal that Newsom accepted, if AB 1432 had been approved by the Senate, Calbright would be closed.

Although, Calbright survived this year’s Legislative attempt to close it, those who oppose it have not given up. They emphasize that Calbright leaders must deliver on its mission on the timetable provided in the audit report and meet the milestones the Legislature established when the college was created.

“We need to see substantial progress for Calbright to earn our trust and show that this has not been a wasteful experiment coming at California taxpayers’ expense,” Low says.

 

Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Barbara Lee

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Celebrates Birthday at Mills College

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.

Published

on

Maurice Arnold with Rep. Barbara Lee at a birthday party on the Mills College campus.

On July 24, Congresswoman Barbara Lee returned to her alma mater, Mills College, for a dual engagement.  As the guest of honor, she conducted a local meet-and-greet among special guests, friends and supporters and she also belatedly celebrated her belated, which was on July 6.

Mills College Lokey School of Business and Public Policy hosted the event for Lee.  The   special guests included Oakland’s Councilmember Treva Reid, District 7; BART Boardmember, Lateefah Simon, District 7, Candidate Mia Bonta, AD-18, Post Newspaper Group Publisher Paul Cobb and many more.

Lee’s celebration took place at Mills College Student Union, where, in part, Lee’s political career began.  Her political future was decisively shaped when she took a government course that required her to participate in a presidential campaign. “I invited Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, to speak at Mills, and learned that she was running for president,” Lee recalls. “I helped organize her Northern California campaign, and I registered to vote for the first time . . . and the rest is history.”

Whether standing alone as the sole congressional vote against a blank check for endless war, authoring legislation on ending the global HIV/AIDS pandemic, or representing the U.S. House of Representatives in the United Nations General Assembly, Lee carries her Mills education with her. “Mills instilled me with the confidence I needed to achieve my goals,” she says.

Accordingly, we say happy belated birthday and much success to Team Barbara.

Continue Reading

Community

Congratulations to Michelle Mack

Nominated for Teacher of the Year

Published

on

Photo courtesy Michelle Mack

Congratulations to Michelle Mack, currently a pre-K lead teacher in Atlanta, Ga., who was nominated for Teacher of the Year. A 2008 graduate of St. Elizabeth’s High School who earned a degree in child psychology from San Francisco State University in 2012, Mack received her master’s from Clark University in 2015.

Mack was recognized by the Easter Seals of North Georgia (ESNG) for “serving five consistent years teaching children and helping families with the same company” and awarded the ESNG-Guice Center Award for Individual Excellence.

 

Continue Reading

Activism

Young Adults Speak Out at Climate Adaptation Seminar

The Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), is conducting a series of seminars entitled “Building an Inclusive and Equitable Adaptation Movement.”  Their recent seminar, held on July 20, focused on the youth and how they could be more recognized and  represented in the climate adaptation space.

Published

on

From top left: Tianna Shaw-Wakeman, Skyler Kriese, Moiz Mir, Catherine Foster (Photo by Godfrey Lee)

The Alliance of Regional Collaboratives for Climate Adaptation (ARCCA), is conducting a series of seminars entitled “Building an Inclusive and Equitable Adaptation Movement.”  Their recent seminar, held on July 20, focused on the youth and how they could be more recognized and  represented in the climate adaptation space.
ARCCA is a coalition of the Local Government Commission and represents leading collaborative networks from across California that strive to build regional resilience to climate impacts.  ARCCA members work to enhance public health, protect natural systems, build economies, and create resilient, livable communities throughout California. 

ARCCA members effectively bolster their individual and collective efforts by sharing best practices and resources, identifying strategies to overcome key barriers and challenges, and conducting joint campaigns and projects.

ARCCA believes that the youth have been under-represented in the climate initiative. “It has become more apparent over the years that the youth, with their activism and experience, can have a pivotal role to play in our adaption to climate change. It is the goal of ARRCA, in their work in climate change, to expand the youth’s participation in their projects and actively include them in our leadership phases and decision-making processes,” said Catherine Foster, the moderator of the seminar, and ARCCA’s Climate & Energy Project manager, LGC.

Three college graduates who were involved in the environmental movement on their campuses spoke during the seminar.

Tianna Shaw-Wakeman holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and a Master’s degree in Social Entrepreneurship from the University of Southern California, and graduated as the first Black Valedictorian for the Class of 2021. She served and led many of the prominent campus environmental activism groups. “We all work with people who are different places, so recognize the gaps in your knowledge, and also what the other person does and does not know,” Wakeman said.

Skyler Kriese graduated from Santa Clara University in 2020 with a B.S. in Environmental Studies. She is a 2020-2021 CivicSpark AmeriCorps Fellow supporting Butte County Department of Development Services on three grant-funded, long-range planning projects. Following her service year, she will continue her studies at the University of Michigan, pursuing an M.S. in Environmental Justice and Environmental Policy and Planning.

Kriese says that local governments need to identify environment justice communities and address environmental justice in their general plans. This is important so that processes and policies can begin to work and ultimately create healthier communities. 

Moiz Mir was the president of the Environmental Student Organization at California State University Sacramento from 2017–2019. As an intern at the Sacramento Mayor’s Office, he organized youth summits to include students’ voices in the Mayors’ Commission on Climate Change and served on the commission’s Community Health, Resiliency and Equity Technical Advisory Committees. 

Mir advocates building toward inclusivity, to reach out to a more diverse people in the work toward climate adaptation. 

For more information on ARCCA and their upcoming seminars, go to https://arccacalifornia.org/embedding-equity-in-adaptation/ 

Continue Reading

CHECK OUT THE LATEST ISSUE OF THE OAKLAND POST

ADVERTISEMENT

WORK FROM HOME

Home-based business with potential monthly income of $10K+ per month. A proven training system and website provided to maximize business effectiveness. Perfect job to earn side and primary income. Contact Lynne for more details: Lynne4npusa@gmail.com 800-334-0540

Facebook

Trending