Assembly Higher Education Committee Approves CFT Proposal Repealing Punitive Approach to Students Repeating Courses
Sacramento, CA — CFT members and community college students applaud today’s vote on AB 811 (Fong) by the Assembly Higher Education Committee. The bill, sponsored by CFT, updates a harsh, punitive policy that prohibits students from repeating courses.
“At its core, AB 811 is about community and equity. This change in law will allow for greater community involvement and engagement in the community college experience among students not seeking a degree. It will give greater opportunities for success for some of California’s most challenged students. But most importantly, this law will allow community college students to be able to make their own informed choices on course repeatability that can further empower them in their education, career, and lives,” said Jeffery Freitas, CFT President.
The 9 to 1 vote came after City College of San Francisco Student Chancellor Heather Brandt shared with the committee the hardships the policy places on students, particularly those who are first-generation students, English language learners, working people, and parents. “Current limits on course repeatability disproportionately harm underserved students such as students of color, system-impacted students, and students with dependents, like myself. AB 811 is the difference California community college students need – an important step towards creating accessible, equitable, and inclusive learning institutions.”
“AB 811 provides adequate opportunity for students to pass classes and overcome an under-resourced K-12 education that creates barriers instead of bridges to higher education. This lets students have more chances to navigate the external struggles of life when their family gets sick, or their job hours change, or childcare becomes an issue and classes fall to the wayside — and get back on track,” said Belinda Lum, Chief Negotiator, Los Rios College Federation of Teachers.
AB 811 (Fong) would raise the repeatability cap (the number of times a student can repeat a completed course, for example for job training), from one to three. Additionally, it raises from three to five the number of times a student can repeat a course they weren’t able to complete for reasons like illness, pregnancy, getting a new job, or struggling with material. The community college mission historically included access for all learners at various life stages. AB 811 (Fong) helps ensure a community college system that is once again for the community, providing increased access to all students.
CFT – A Union of Educators and Classified Professionals represents 120,000 teachers, faculty, and school employees in public and private schools and colleges, from early childhood through higher education. It is the statewide affiliate of the AFT.