Gov. Jerry Brown is pushing for a new, online community college. It’s a great idea…more people have access to higher education, it’s less expensive, and it cuts down on overcrowded classrooms.
White elites who run California’s community college classrooms hate it.
Governor Brown’s challenge, according to the Mercury News, is to convince the Legislature and a skeptical community college faculty that online education is the key to reaching the 2.5 million Californians aged 25 to 34 who graduated from high school but lack a college degree.
With tens of thousands of Californians turning to private and out-of-state schools for distance learning, Brown and Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley say they want to provide an affordable, high-quality option for busy adults to gain skills that will help them in the labor market. They’re asking the Legislature to approve $100 million in startup funds and $20 million in ongoing annual costs for an independent college district that would start enrolling students in fall 2019.
It makes total sense.
Designed in collaboration with employers and labor unions, the new college’s curriculum would feature short courses leading to certificates or badges that carry value in high-demand industries such as health care, child care, information technology and manufacturing. Students could learn at their own pace, would be eligible for state financial aid and might even be able to pay a flat fee to access unlimited courses.
So why do the white elite faculty groups hate it? Well, in the end, it’s all about money, power, and control.