With the implementation of AB 705 underway across California community colleges, the English division on campus is scrambling to find an appropriate model that will cater to the law as well as student success.
AB 705, which was signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown, stipulates that as of Fall 2019, all remedial classes for math and English will not be offered, making students enroll directly into college level math and English classes.
English faculty at PCC
As of right now, the English faculty on campus are trying to figure out a model that will work to address the needs of the law while also being considerate of achieving student success. However, they are facing difficulties trying to work with this new law because of a lack of communication from the administration on campus.
Before AB 705 was signed into law, the English faculty were using an existing 2 unit course to pilot a class they wanted to introduce after Spring of 2019 called ‘English 110’. However, before they could implement the pilot course, English faculty received an email stating that they had to stop the pilot.
The faculty weren’t given a reason from the Dean of the English division, Isela Ocegueda, as to why they were not going to be able to offer English 110. Instead, it was the Superintendent-President Erika Endrijonas, that told them they were unable to offer the course because the model was outdated.
According to documents obtained by the Courier, an email sent to Academic Senate (AS) President Lynora Rogacs explained that the removal of English 110 as an option at PCC has left ramifications for the curriculum and has hindered the English faculties ability to provide for its students.
Dean Ocegueda’s lack of communication has caused a rift between English faculty and has slowed the process of properly implementing models that will work with AB 705.
“Dean [Ocegueda] is undermining the letter and spirit of AB 705 as well as the purpose of multiple measures,” stated the email sent to Rogacs. “Even if the English faculty should vote to maintain English 400 along with English 100, the course work would still fall within the ‘one-year time frame’ in which a student might ‘enter and complete transfer-level coursework.’”
The state of AB 705 and its effect on the future of PCC English and math programs remains to be seen. The lack of communication, mainly from the administration side, does not seem to help PCC students transition into transfer level courses.
Future of AB 705 within the English division
Dean Ocegueda has not offered any co-requisite courses or a support model for remedial level students, however, English professors are prepared to see students of varying skill levels in their English 1A courses, and as such will be ready to teach the different levels of students simultaneously.
Faculty within the English division will now have to create a broader curriculum to accommodate the wide range of student preparedness.
Dean Ocegueda stated in an email that PCC students can now go directly into English 1A courses without having to take English 100 as a prerequisite starting in the Fall of 2019. Students were confused about having to retake remedial courses, so counselors were instructed to guide students into English 1A.
The email was finished with a statement regarding a system wide counseling update in which some 23,000 PCC students were automatically placed into English 1A courses for the upcoming semester. If they had not previously taken the course or were placed in English 100 or English 400 for the Fall 2019 semester, they were moved to English 1A. However, students may still take the 100 course if they opt to.
Currently, there is no preferred approach from the state about how to best implement classes across community colleges. According to English professor Manny Perea, “when [AB 705 was passed], the language was vague in that it was up and to interpretation.”
For the English faculty on campus, their plan is to introduce a course called English 1A ‘enhanced’, which is a 5 unit class that has an extra unit dedicated to supporting students.
“Our thought is that if you can get a student who normally would have taken English 100 and English 1A, a total of 8 units, and give them 5 units and give them that extra support, then you’re cutting down on their units,” said Perea.
While this issue was thrown in front of the English faculty without much warning or time to prepare, most of the professors are optimistic in their ability to cater to the needs of any and all students.
The Courier reached out to Dean Ocegueda for comment, but have received no reply.