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Letters: Reforming community colleges

February 01, 2013

Re "Pushing reform too far," Editorial, Jan. 27

Gov. Jerry Brown wants community college students to "devise an educational plan so they enroll in the courses they need." Whatever happened to the concept of "finding yourself" in college? Few college freshman (mostly recent high school graduates) know exactly what they want to do in life because they haven't been exposed. College is where to get that exposure.

Henry David Thoreau's comment that "the mass of people live lives of quiet desperation" applies to those who either didn't have the opportunity to find what they love to do or found out too late in life to change.

So here's to taking the odd course or two, even on a whim, because if we step outside our current envelope, we might just find a more truly satisfactory calling. I did, and so have most of the happiest, most successful people I know.

Michael Moore

Alhambra

As a former community college teacher, I believe your editorial made an unwarranted indictment against educators by suggesting they would be incentivized to "dumb down course work" to pass more students and get their institution more money from the state.

I applaud Brown for his much-needed proposed reforms. If incoming community college students attend orientation sessions and work with counselors to "devise an educational plan" based on their abilities, there will be fewer dropouts.

Doris O'Brien

Pasadena

Yes, there are terrible budget constraints on education, but no one is talking about the elephant in the room.

With the decimation of the successful adult education programs in California, we are no longer able to serve the non-English-speaking parents of underserved schoolchildren, offer a second chance at high school or offer vocational training for those who are not college-bound.

In a report released on Dec. 5, the state's Legislative Analyst's Office offered a plan for restructuring adult education that differentiates it from community colleges. Unfortunately, Brown seems to have disregarded that report.

Planaria Price

Los Angeles

The writer is a retired adult education teacher.

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