Cutting Basic Skills Courses at Delta College

Delta Winds cover 2010Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


Cutting Basic Skills Courses at Delta College

Cara Pellegri

Administrators continue to drop classes at Delta College because they claim they do not have the money and resources to fund these classes. The administrators at Delta College believe that they should not focus on classes that students should have learned in high school. They claim they should not have to educate low-level students with the economy the way it is. Delta College administrators believe that they should focus more of their money and resources on classes that are transferable. It is already tough to get into transferable courses because the administrators have been cutting back sections. Classes are being limited all across the board. Always at the beginning of the semester it is hard to get in to high-demand, transferable classes. These are the classes every person needs to take to transfer to a four-year university. There is a limited number of these hard, but transferable classes such as anatomy, statistics, and English 1A.

The administration states that through the period of budget cuts, Delta College must put its money and resources toward their main goals, which are the transfer level courses and the career-technical training courses. It is only fair to cut the lowest level of basic skills courses. I strongly believe that what the administrators are currently doing at Delta is the best way to resolve their money issues. Since the administrators have to cut courses somewhere, it should definitely be the basic skills, such as reading, math, and English as a Second Language. These are classes that were taught in high school. If the students still do not understand the material, then why did they even graduate? I do not believe that these classes should be taught at Delta when the budget has been drastically cut. Delta College is doing the right thing by cutting services to the lowest-level students so the college can focus more on the students who worked hard in high school to get to where they are today. If the students passed these classes, why would they want to take these courses over again? English 70 is a very simple and straightforward course, and anyone who cannot pass that class has a lifetime of learning to look forward to. I took English 70 last semester here at Delta, and it was one of the easiest classes I have ever taken. The only reason I took that course was because I was on the wait list for English 79 and was unable to be added to the class. I needed to take twelve units to be considered a full-time student and to be able to receive four scholarships. When I was not able to add into English 79, I had to find another five-unit course. An English 70 instructor let me in to her class. English 70 was an easy "A" for me because I had learned all the material when I was a sophomore or junior in high school. Personally, I do not think that community colleges should be offering such low level basic skills courses. It is not the college's fault if the student did not absorb that material while in high school.

Another reason I support the administrators' decision is that adult school can serve under-prepared students. The administrators are not saying, "You failed at life, and we do not want to teach you the basic skills." The administration is encouraging lower-level students to attend Adult School first and then concentrate on attending a community college. The college administrators are not giving up on these lower level students. If they really want to take a remedial class, then they should go to Adult School. When students turn eighteen, they have the right to continue with their high school education or drop out of high school and apply to a community college. I do not think that this is the smartest decision, but that is their choice. There are several students who transfer to Adult School, take some basic classes and return to their high school. One of my friends did not pass a basic math class at Millennium High School. She went to Adult School three times a week in the afternoons. She learned her lesson not to mess around because for that time period when she was at Millennium and also at Adult School all she ever did was homework. She had absolutely no free time.

It is not the college's responsibility to work with the students who were not serious in high school. College is for students who have a goal in life and who worked hard in high school and who will continue to work hard in college to accomplish their goals. The teachers should not have to teach students who do not know the basics for college. It is the college's responsibility to make sure that the students who want to learn have a good learning environment in order to become successful. It is the college's mission to encourage students to work hard and give them confidence to strive for their future. It is sad how severe the budget cuts are right now, reducing the number of students who attend college because of low education levels, but maybe these students will learn that high school is very important and that they need to start to grow up. They can teach their children down the road to focus on getting an education in high school in order to achieve their goals and achieve success in life.

Delta College administrators are doing the right thing by cutting basic skills, such as reading, math and English as a Second Language. Community colleges need to focus on transfer level courses and career technical training courses. College is not meant for everyone, so maybe the students who need to take the low level courses are not meant for college. However, if the students do believe that they need to attend college and that college is meant for them, then Adult School can prepare them to enter college at a later date.