Little Hoover Report Cites Success of LBCC and Long Beach College Promise

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The California Little Hoover Commission released a detailed report yesterday that cited Long Beach City College and the Long Beach College Promise as examples of student success.  The report also called on the Governor and the Legislature to refocus the mission of the community colleges and to align policies and resources around student success in three core areas: basic skills, career technical education and preparation for transfer to four-year universities.

Long Beach City College, LBCC President Eloy Ortiz Oakley, and Board President Doug Otto provided testimony and input for the statewide report.  The report, Serving Students, Serving California: Updating the California Community Colleges to Meet Evolving Demands, calls on the state to prioritize its investments in community colleges around the goal of student success.  In addition, it found that while community colleges have opened their doors to people who want to improve the quality of their lives by earning more income, building skills to run a business, or excelling in careers, many are falling short because colleges are trying to be all things to all people.

“I applaud the Little Hoover Commission for its important work on behalf of our state and our community colleges,” said Oakley.  “We need to focus our investments on student success and measurable metrics and results.  I am proud that the Long Beach College Promise and Long Beach City College were highlighted as models for statewide success.”

The report notes the following about the Long Beach College Promise:
In a unique partnership that spans the educational pipeline and has created a seamless path for Long Beach students to pursue higher education, the Long Beach Promise is designed to improve college preparation, access and completion. Students are encouraged, beginning as early as the fourth or fifth grades, to work toward pursuing a college education and are rewarded for showing academic improvement.

Through the Promise, local high school graduates who immediately enroll in Long Beach City College are awarded a tuition-free first semester and priority registration, and for those who complete minimum college preparatory requirements or community college transfer requirements, guaranteed admission to California State University Long Beach. Once at Long Beach City College, students are given additional guidance and are required to participate in a student success course to develop educational plans and learn more about financial aid opportunities, Long Beach Superintendent- President Eloy Oakley explained to Commission staff.

In addition, to increase focus on the students, Long Beach City College is just beginning to “structure classes when students want to take them, not when teachers want to teach.” This program is student focused,” trustee Doug Otto told Commissioners. Already in its third year, the Promise is showing positive results: More Long Beach Unified School District graduates are enrolling in postsecondary courses at the city college or state university; they are better prepared than their peers from other school districts and fewer are dropping out after their first semester.

In addition, Oakley advocated in the report for more authority for the California Community College Chancellor.  Currently, the Chancellor lacks authority to enforce common policies or practices to unify the system since each college district has its own governing board.  The report noted that the chancellor’s office should be moved out of the executive branch of state government and established as a separate entity that can establish policy directives, create accountability measures, direct funding, oversee community college districts, and, when necessary, intervene in district affairs.

Oakley stated in the report:

Just as I hire and fire my vice presidents, the Chancellor needs that flexibility. And, just as I am held responsible for outcomes, the Chancellor needs that same accountability.  Given the size of our system … there has to be a better model that provides the Chancellor’s Office, particularly, more of a role in determining, implementing and executing state policy for the system while allowing the colleges to implement that policy as they see best at the local level.

The Little Hoover Commission is a bipartisan and independent state agency charged with recommending ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs.

Click here to view Little Hoover Commission Report.

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