Experts Spell Out Steps for Remedial Education Reform at Senate Select Committee on Student Success

Monday, December 18, 2017

SANTA MONICA, CA – Remedial education reform can be a critical component to improving four-year college graduation rates, if steps are taken to ensure students get the proper support, according to CSU officials, education experts, faculty and students who testified Monday at a hearing of the Select Committee on Student Success.

The hearing, chaired by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, was held at Santa Monica Community College. Other members to attend the hearing were Sens. Ben Allen, D-Santa Monica, and Scott Wilk, R-Lancaster.

California State University has a goal of improving its four-year graduation rates to 40 percent by 2025. Currently, CSU has a 23 percent four-year graduation rate, up from 18 percent two years ago.

One step that CSU has taken to improve graduation rates is to reform remedial educational programs that appeared to be holding students back. CSU has eliminated non-credit remedial courses while overhauling math requirements.

“We have a long way to go,” Glazer said. “The key question before this committee today is whether remedial education reforms CSU has taken are the right steps. Will these changes fall flat, dumbing down the degree? Or will they be like a trampoline propelling students to greater success.”

Educators and experts who testified were: Dr. James Minor, assistant Vice Chancellor and Senior Strategist, CSU; Bruce Vandal of Complete College America; Laura Jimenez of the Center for American Progress; Cherie Ichinose, Assistant Professor, Mathematics, CSU Fullerton; Matthew Jones, professor and Math Department Chair, CSU Dominguez Hills; Dr. David Barsky, a mathematics faculty member at CSU San Marcos; and Chimezie Ebiriekwe, Associated Students President at San Diego State University.

Other members of the committee are: Sens. Tony Atkins, D-San Diego, Patricia Bates, R-Laguna Niguel, Bill Dodd, D-Napa, Richard Lara, D-Bell Gardens, Janet Nguyen, R-Garden Grove, and Anthony Portantino, D-La Canada.