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Letters: Gov. Brown's plan for community colleges

January 23, 2013

Re "Brown seeks to reshape colleges," Jan. 21

Instead of trying to take the community out of community colleges, Gov. Jerry Brown should address the root of the system's problems. As The Times notes: "Most of the schools' 2.4 million students are unprepared for college-level work: 85% need remedial English; 73% need remedial math."

The K-12 curriculum is not preparing students. We owe it to all high school graduates to make them proficient in reading, English and math.

Too many state requirements and choices for students have diluted the pre-college curriculum. Brown should analyze what is being taught in schools, and institutions that train teachers should demand that their graduates are proficient in these subjects. Schools should require tests that demand more than just checking a box. No child starts school ready to fail. It is our system that fails the child.

Community colleges should continue to be institutions of lifelong learning that meet the needs of their communities.

Phyllis Specht


The writer, a professor emeritus at Mt. San Antonio College, is the director of the Pasadena City College Foundation.

It is about time that someone looks at schooling, a framework that is itself never questioned.

Enter Brown, who apparently draws some inspiration for his community college proposals from his close experience with the late iconoclast and "Deschooling Society" author, philosopher Ivan Illich.

Accordingly, Brown proposes to "allow those with knowledge of a subject to receive course credit by taking a special exam." I applaud this move, which loosens the institutional grip on compulsory learning.

William Solberg

Los Angeles


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