More than any other sector of public education in the state, the California Community Colleges system has been reforming itself in response to thinbudgets and increased demand for classes. It's unclear why Gov. Jerry Brown is on the colleges' case to make more drastic changes when they haven't yet had a chance to fully implement the thoughtful policies they've crafted.
Starting in the fall, the colleges will assess all new students' skills, require them to attend orientation sessions like students at other institutions do, and help them devise an educational plan so that they enroll in the courses they need. The goal is to prevent students from wandering aimlessly through the college system, as they often do now, picking up random credits that don't move them toward their goal but instead increase the chances that they will drop out.
The colleges also are revamping their course-enrollment policies. Currently, new students are allowed to register for courses only after everyone else has done so. That means students who already have accrued far more credits than they need to graduate are allowed to take up space in yet more classes that they don't need while new students are lucky to find a spot in a single class. Beginning in the fall, new students with an education plan move to the front of the line while students with about 50% more credits than they need move to the back. Exceptions would be made in some cases, such as students working on double majors or adults who are back at school for retraining.