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Letters: What to do about crowded colleges

October 18, 2012
  • Jin Ong, second from left, studies outside his English class at Pierce College in Woodland Hills. He also takes African American history and biology at Valley College and Korean at City College.
Jin Ong, second from left, studies outside his English class at Pierce College… (Christina House / For the…)

Re "A dash for classes," Oct. 16

Budget cuts really hurt community colleges, but several facts tend to be left out of the discussion on student woes.

I teach community college math. Better than half the math courses we teach are "developmental," or high school courses. This means we're teaching courses that students did not take in high school or that the schools didn't teach. That is a situation that could be remedied.

Someone in Sacramento decided that everyone wanting an associate's degree, even in a vocational field, has to be proficient in intermediate algebra. Far be it from me to deprive anyone of the joys of math (yes, they do exist), but some students cannot think abstractly enough to master algebra. They would be better served with a course in applied math applicable to their field.

Students who fail algebra try again and again, which is fiscally unsound. Remedies exist — and easy ones at that.

Pauli Peter

Los Angeles

Here are some solutions for our community colleges. First, fix K-12 schools so that more high school graduates are capable of performing at the college level. This would reduce the demand for remedial classes and reduce the scheduling problem.

Second, why not have the students attend their local community college and have the instructors teach at different campuses based on demand?

Third, stop the absolute waste of money in the construction programs, which have given us new but unusable buildings.

Finally, eliminate the physical education and personal development classes in favor of academics. In tough times we need to make tough decisions.

Kevin Minihan

Los Angeles

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