Opinion

Community college funding: Put students first

The entrance to Pasadena Community College. (Photo: Angel DiBilio, via Shutterstock)

A certain (now disgraced) writer-producer-director is credited with saying, “80 percent of success is just showing up.”

That would be nice, right? But for many of us, this just doesn’t hold true.

Showing up to a job interview doesn’t get us 80 percent of the way to the job.

Showing up to college doesn’t get us 80 percent of the way into the class we want.

And 80 percent of a class grade being based on participation? Nice try…

Only in the suspended reality of the ivory tower is it bad to incentivize community colleges to encourage and help students complete those degrees.

For too long “just showing up” has also been the metric we use to determine funding for California’s Community Colleges.

Currently, local community colleges receive funding from the state based upon the number of seats they fill, without regard to how much help students need or how well the college does in helping them complete a degree or credential.  This is why Gov.Brown’s budget proposal seeks to revise the funding formula for the California Community Colleges to prioritize student success and equity.

This proposal has drawn broad support from business and equity groups alike – including the Campaign for College Opportunity, the Education Trust-West, the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Alliance for a Better Community, the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. These groups support this proposal because low-income and other underrepresented students are prioritized and student success metrics are embraced.

In the opposing corner are some community college faculty and some administrators, who seem afraid that any amount of funding could be used to incentivize success in degree or credential completion, which the marketplace known as the “real world” has no problem rewarding.

They call it the ivory tower for a reason. Only in the suspended reality of the ivory tower is it bad to incentivize community colleges to encourage and help students complete those degrees and credentials that are necessary for life success.

The sad reality is that we are not doing any favors by continuing the status quo of enrollment-based funding – not for the colleges and not for the students, fewer than half of whom complete community college even after six years. And it’s even worse for the 59 percent of Latino and 64 percent of Black students who lag their peers in this six-year metric.  We should be asking ourselves, who exactly is the winner in the status quo?

Fortunately, many community college districts are beginning to see the light, realizing that their colleges will do better and receive more money under a mixed funding formula that takes into account several factors. And they see shortening students’ time-to-degree or credential as an imperative.

Unlike the ivory tower, students must use their education to get out and make it in the real world, where they don’t get rewarded for just showing up. Let’s not pretend that it is unreasonable to expect our state-funded community colleges to help students get the degrees and credentials they need to succeed in this world.

It’s time to support changes to the community colleges funding formula.

Ed’s Note: Cassandra Jennings is CEO of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, and Pamela Haynes is a member of the California Community Colleges Board of Governors and the Los Rios Community College District’s Board of Trustees


  • Dave Fouquet

    It’s one thing for promoters of performance based funding to present their case. It’s quite another for them to completely distort the opposition. This shows the desperation of their case, particularly after the Senate Budget Subcommittee firmly rejected it.

    Ivory tower? Hardly! Real defenders of students need to answer the charge raised by the Assembly Budget Subcommittee analysis: “It is unclear how punishing colleges with poor performance by reducing funding will lead to better performance.” The analysis also notes that “[t]here remains little evidence that performance funding has been effective in improving outcomes in other states.”

    Even more perplexing is the documented evidence that
    performance funding widens regional achievement gaps by rewarding those areas
    with better prepared students and penalizing those who enter our open-access
    system with less academic preparation. This is exactly the opposite of one of
    the stated Vision for Success goals. See https://bit.ly/1s9PXLl.

    In the past 30 years, the California Community College system has altered its funding formula twice, both as a result of collective conversation, both through the policy, not budget, process, and both with a level of transparency that matches our reputation as a world-class institution of higher education. Instead of rushing through a funding formula that threatens college opportunity, how about we initiate a transparent process to develop a formula that actually helps students?

    • Arnie K.

      blaming the lower grades is probably appropriate, but the lower grades would say that the standard for CC (being 18 years old) is hardly a challenge. so, this would suggest a positive outcome if we were to seek even more integration of educational outcomes k-14. Since that sort of coordination is a logistical nightmare, i can’t see much change beyond the attendance-based current plan.

  • Troy A. Myers

    I have taught community college English for twenty-four years, and I am surprised to see the president of my local board of trustees, someone also appointed to the statewide Board of Governors, and someone I consider a friend, co-sign an article thin on facts. At the personal level, I am saddened to see a cliché and populist pejorative, “ivory tower,” promoted by one of the leaders of our system to describe faculty and faculty leadership in California; faculty, who, after research and dialogue, continue to reject the concept of performance-based funding, or the community college version of the failed No Child Left Behind.

    It is a little ironic that the authors of this piece and faculty want the same thing: an educated and fulfilled citizenry. We want community college students to thrive as professionals and as persons: white collar, blue collar, or Supreme Court collar (the Chief Justice of California, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, is an alumna of Sacramento City College). We share the knowledge that community colleges lift more
    Californians (myself included) out of the soul-deriding violence of poverty than
    any structure in our state.

    So why do we disagree here? Because Governor Brown is not right about everything!

    My colleague, Mark Foque, has already noted the Senate and Assembly budget committees have rejected the new and hastily formulated college funding formula. Importantly, the respected and non-partisan think-tank the Century Foundation summarizes what national research has shown, performance-based funding does not work: https://tcf.org/content/report/why-performance-based-college-funding-doesnt-work/.

    Additionally, the authors of a book-length, national study titled Performance Funding for Higher Education, not only concur that data has not demonstrated improvements in student outcomes, but that, on the contrary, negative consequences have been observed in the real world, including students who need the most help being denied access, loss of rigor, grade inflation, and, significantly, diminished faculty morale.

    Faculty understand that our colleges must continually strive to improve, but education is a complex social process and not an assembly line.

    The statewide Academic Senate for community colleges, which is made up of elected faculty representatives from every community college (I would not call them “some”), has a letter in opposition here: https://asccc.org/sites/default/file/May%20Revise%202018%20Letter.pdf which states, “Performance based funding, even at 20 percent, represents a misdirected approach which is likely to harm students and magnify regional achievement gaps and equity gaps.” I recently ended a term as president of my college’s academic senate, and I know and serve with these people: they are neither reclusive, nor afraid, nor self-seeking.

    Community college faculty in California are not locked in an
    ivory tower, and we do not live in a suspended reality. We have dedicated our professional lives to work closely every day with some of those most deserving citizens in California, our students. Please, let’s keep the facile, group-bashing dismissals common in our current national politics out of our educational conversations and remain
    motivated by real world data and analysis.

    Respectfully,

    Troy Myers
    English Department, Sacramento City College
    Past-President Academic Senate
    Region F Governor, Faculty Association for California Community Colleges

  • Gayle Pitman

    Troy Myers posted a comment about this article a couple of hours ago. It was very well written and included some excellent points. It’s gone now. Why was it taken down?

    • Linda Sneed

      Indeed. Where has that gone, CW?

  • Debbie Klein

    Greetings!

    I have been teaching in the CCC System since 2001. The fact that our system partners and legislators are giving into the pressure to adopt performance-based funding suggests that they have fallen prey to the Lumina and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) agendas. The research clearly shows that performance-based funding does not move the needle in education or any other industry: the completion metrics DO NOT IMPROVE after pbf is adopted.

    Please read the following excerpt from the article, “Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work” by Hillman (2016):

    “For the better part of the past century, elected officials have sought ways to improve the performance of public sector operations, such as fire departments, libraries, health clinics, job training programs, elementary schools, and traffic safety. Interest in performance management has only grown over time, to the point today that it is nearly impossible to talk about government finance without also talking about performance. The idea of attempting to measure outcomes and paying for those results is compelling because of its simple logic. Proponents believe setting clear performance goals and tying funding to them will create incentives for public organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately resulting in better delivery of public services. Fire departments, they reason, should not be funded according to the number of engines they own, but according to the number of fires they put out. Hospitals should be funded not by the number of patients admitted, but by the health outcomes of their patients. Schools should not be funded by the number of teachers they employ, but by each teacher’s contribution to student learning.

    In recent years, advocates seeking to increase the number of college graduates in the United States have promoted the idea that states should finance their public universities using a performance-based model. Supporters of the concept believe that the $75 billion states invest in public higher education each year will not be spent efficiently or effectively if it is based on enrollment or other input measures, because colleges have little financial incentive to organize their operations around supporting students to graduation. When states shift to performance-based funding, it is hoped, colleges will adopt innovative practices that improve student persistence in college. The appeal of performance-based funding is “intuitive,” its proponents argue, “based on the logical belief that tying some funding dollars to results will provide an incentive to pursue those results.”

    However, while pay-for-performance is a compelling concept in theory, it has consistently failed to bear fruit in actual implementation, whether in the higher education context or in other public services. Despite the logic, research shows that tying financial incentives to performance measures rarely results in large or positive outcomes that are sustained over time.”

    Thank you for reading,
    Debbie Klein, Ph.D.
    Professor, Anthropology
    Gavilan College

  • http://www.debbieklein.org Debbie

    Greetings!

    I have been teaching in the CCC System since 2001. The fact that our system partners and legislators are giving into the pressure to adopt performance-based funding suggests that they have fallen prey to the Lumina and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) agendas. The research clearly shows that performance-based funding does not move the needle in education or any other industry: the completion metrics DO NOT IMPROVE after performance-based funding is adopted.

    Please read the following excerpt from the article, “Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work” by Hillman (2016):

    “For the better part of the past century, elected officials have sought ways to improve the performance of public sector operations, such as fire departments, libraries, health clinics, job training programs, elementary schools, and traffic safety. Interest in performance management has only grown over time, to the point today that it is nearly impossible to talk about government finance without also talking about performance. The idea of attempting to measure outcomes and paying for those results is compelling because of its simple logic. Proponents believe setting clear performance goals and tying funding to them will create incentives for public organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately resulting in better delivery of public services. Fire departments, they reason, should not be funded according to the number of engines they own, but according to the number of fires they put out. Hospitals should be funded not by the number of patients admitted, but by the health outcomes of their patients. Schools should not be funded by the number of teachers they employ, but by each teacher’s contribution to student learning.

    In recent years, advocates seeking to increase the number of college graduates in the United States have promoted the idea that states should finance their public universities using a performance-based model. Supporters of the concept believe that the $75 billion states invest in public higher education each year will not be spent efficiently or effectively if it is based on enrollment or other input measures, because colleges have little financial incentive to organize their operations around supporting students to graduation. When states shift to performance-based funding, it is hoped, colleges will adopt innovative practices that improve student persistence in college. The appeal of performance-based funding is “intuitive,” its proponents argue, “based on the logical belief that tying some funding dollars to results will provide an incentive to pursue those results.”

    However, while pay-for-performance is a compelling concept in theory, it has consistently failed to bear fruit in actual implementation, whether in the higher education context or in other public services. Despite the logic, research shows that tying financial incentives to performance measures rarely results in large or positive outcomes that are sustained over time.”

    Thank you for reading,

    Debbie Klein, Ph.D.
    Professor, Anthropology
    Gavilan College

  • http://www.debbieklein.org Debbie

    Greetings!

    I have been teaching in the CCC System since 2001. The fact that our system partners and legislators are giving into the pressure to adopt performance-based funding suggests that they have fallen prey to the Lumina and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) agendas. The research clearly shows that performance-based funding does not move the needle in education or any other industry: the completion metrics DO NOT IMPROVE after performance-based funding is adopted.

    Please read the following excerpt from the article, “Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work” by Hillman (2016):

    “For the better part of the past century, elected officials have sought ways to improve the performance of public sector operations, such as fire departments, libraries, health clinics, job training programs, elementary schools, and traffic safety. Interest in performance management has only grown over time, to the point today that it is nearly impossible to talk about government finance without also talking about performance. The idea of attempting to measure outcomes and paying for those results is compelling because of its simple logic. Proponents believe setting clear performance goals and tying funding to them will create incentives for public organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately resulting in better delivery of public services. Fire departments, they reason, should not be funded according to the number of engines they own, but according to the number of fires they put out. Hospitals should be funded not by the number of patients admitted, but by the health outcomes of their patients. Schools should not be funded by the number of teachers they employ, but by each teacher’s contribution to student learning.

    In recent years, advocates seeking to increase the number of college graduates in the United States have promoted the idea that states should finance their public universities using a performance-based model. Supporters of the concept believe that the $75 billion states invest in public higher education each year will not be spent efficiently or effectively if it is based on enrollment or other input measures, because colleges have little financial incentive to organize their operations around supporting students to graduation. When states shift to performance-based funding, it is hoped, colleges will adopt innovative practices that improve student persistence in college. The appeal of performance-based funding is “intuitive,” its proponents argue, “based on the logical belief that tying some funding dollars to results will provide an incentive to pursue those results.”

    However, while pay-for-performance is a compelling concept in theory, it has consistently failed to bear fruit in actual implementation, whether in the higher education context or in other public services. Despite the logic, research shows that tying financial incentives to performance measures rarely results in large or positive outcomes that are sustained over time.”

    Thank you for reading,
    Debbie Klein, Ph.D.
    Professor, Anthropology
    Gavilan College

  • Troy A. Myers

    Gayle, I don’t know what happened, maybe it was me, but I’m re-posting. If this one goes away, I will call to find out why.

    I have taught community college English for
    twenty-four years, and I am surprised to see the president of my local board of
    trustees, someone also appointed to the statewide Board of Governors, and
    someone I consider a friend, co-sign an article thin on facts. At the personal
    level, I am saddened to see a cliché and populist pejorative, “ivory tower,” promoted
    by one of the leaders of our system to describe faculty and faculty leadership
    in California; faculty, who, after research and dialogue, continue to reject the
    concept of performance-based funding, or the community college version of the failed
    No Child Left Behind.

    It is significant that the authors of this piece
    and faculty want the same thing: an educated and fulfilled citizenry. We want
    community college students to thrive as professionals and as persons: white collar,
    blue collar, or Supreme Court collar (the Chief Justice of California, Tani
    Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, is an alumna of Sacramento City College). We share the knowledge that community colleges lift more
    Californians (myself included) out of the soul-deriding violence of poverty than
    any structure in our state.

    So why do we disagree here? Because Governor
    Brown is not right about everything! My colleague, Dave Fouquet, has already
    noted the Senate and Assembly budget committees rejected the hastily formulated
    college funding formula. Importantly, the respected, non-partisan think-tank at
    the Century Foundation summarizes what the national research has shown,
    performance-based funding does not work: https://tcf.org/content/report/why-performance-based-college-funding-doesnt-work/.
    Additionally, the authors of a book-length, national study titled Performance Funding for Higher Education, not
    only concur that data has not demonstrated improvements in student outcomes, but
    that, on the contrary, negative consequences have been observed in the “real
    world,” including students who need the most help being denied access, loss of
    rigor, grade inflation, and, significantly, diminished faculty morale.

    Faculty understand that our colleges must
    continually strive to improve, but education is a complex social process and
    not an assembly line.

    The statewide Academic Senate for community
    colleges, which is made up of elected faculty representatives from every
    community college (I would not call them “some”), has a letter in opposition https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/May%20Revise%202018%20Letter.pdf
    which states, “Performance based funding, even at
    20 percent, represents a misdirected

    approach which is likely to harm students and magnify
    regional achievement gaps and equity gaps.” I recently ended a term
    as president of my college’s academic senate, and I know and serve with these
    people: they are neither recluse, afraid, nor self-seeking.

    Community college faculty in California are not locked in an
    ivory tower, and we do not live in a suspended reality. We have dedicated our professional lives to work every day with some of those most deserving citizens in
    California, our students. Please, let’s keep the facile dismissals common in
    our current national politics out of our educational conversations and remain
    informed by real world data and analysis.

    Respectfully,

    Troy Myers
    English Department
    Sacramento City College
    Past-President Academic Senate
    Region F Governor,Faculty Association for California Community Colleges

  • Jill Pfeiffer

    Written by people in “Businesss and on the board” who have no idea how badly this new funding formula will harm the community colleges with the most vulnerable populations. So rather than listening to the CFOs of the California Community Colleges this article thinks that outside businesses know best? Really? How about listening to the people on the ground who teach, adminstrate, and staff the colleges that serve our students? Change is needed but not a knee jerk reaction, no college student left behind mentality like the failed no Child Left Behind programs that ruined our schools.

  • http://www.debbieklein.org Debbie

    Please stop removing my post! This is the 4th time I’ve had to repost.–Thank you.

    Greetings!

    I have been teaching in the CCC System since 2001. The fact that our system partners and legislators are giving into the pressure to adopt performance-based funding suggests that they have fallen prey to the Lumina and ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) agendas. The research clearly shows that performance-based funding does not move the needle in education or any other industry: the completion metrics DO NOT IMPROVE after performance-based funding is adopted.

    Please read the following excerpt from the article, “Why Performance-Based College Funding Doesn’t Work” by Hillman (2016):

    “For the better part of the past century, elected officials have sought ways to improve the performance of public sector operations, such as fire departments, libraries, health clinics, job training programs, elementary schools, and traffic safety. Interest in performance management has only grown over time, to the point today that it is nearly impossible to talk about government finance without also talking about performance. The idea of attempting to measure outcomes and paying for those results is compelling because of its simple logic. Proponents believe setting clear performance goals and tying funding to them will create incentives for public organizations to operate more efficiently and effectively, ultimately resulting in better delivery of public services. Fire departments, they reason, should not be funded according to the number of engines they own, but according to the number of fires they put out. Hospitals should be funded not by the number of patients admitted, but by the health outcomes of their patients. Schools should not be funded by the number of teachers they employ, but by each teacher’s contribution to student learning.

    In recent years, advocates seeking to increase the number of college graduates in the United States have promoted the idea that states should finance their public universities using a performance-based model. Supporters of the concept believe that the $75 billion states invest in public higher education each year will not be spent efficiently or effectively if it is based on enrollment or other input measures, because colleges have little financial incentive to organize their operations around supporting students to graduation. When states shift to performance-based funding, it is hoped, colleges will adopt innovative practices that improve student persistence in college. The appeal of performance-based funding is “intuitive,” its proponents argue, “based on the logical belief that tying some funding dollars to results will provide an incentive to pursue those results.”

    However, while pay-for-performance is a compelling concept in theory, it has consistently failed to bear fruit in actual implementation, whether in the higher education context or in other public services. Despite the logic, research shows that tying financial incentives to performance measures rarely results in large or positive outcomes that are sustained over time.”

    Thank you for reading,
    Debbie Klein, Ph.D.
    Professor, Anthropology
    Gavilan College

  • Troy A. Myers

    My post was also just pulled down for a third time. Maybe I’m missing something on the technology side, but I’m posting it again and I’m emailing/calling the editor for assistance. I’ll keep faculty across California posted on how this goes.

    Colleagues,

    I have taught community college English for
    twenty-four years, and I am surprised to see the president of my local board of
    trustees, someone also appointed to the statewide Board of Governors, and
    someone I consider a friend, co-sign an article thin on facts. At the personal
    level, I am saddened to see a cliché and populist pejorative, “ivory tower,” promoted
    by one of the leaders of our system to describe faculty and faculty leadership
    in California; faculty, who, after research and dialogue, continue to reject the
    concept of performance-based funding, or the community college version of the failed
    No Child Left Behind.

    It is significant that the authors of this piece
    and faculty want the same thing: an educated and fulfilled citizenry. We want
    community college students to thrive as professionals and as persons: white collar,
    blue collar, or Supreme Court collar (the Chief Justice of California, Tani
    Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, is an alumna of Sacramento City College). We share the knowledge that community colleges lift more
    Californians (myself included) out of the soul-deriding violence of poverty than
    any structure in our state.

    So why do we disagree here? Because Governor
    Brown is not right about everything! My colleague, Dave Fouquet, has already
    noted the Senate and Assembly budget committees rejected the hastily formulated
    college funding formula. Importantly, the respected, non-partisan think-tank at
    the Century Foundation summarizes what the national research has shown,
    performance-based funding does not work: https://tcf.org/content/rep….
    Additionally, the authors of a book-length, national study titled Performance Funding for Higher Education, not
    only concur that data has not demonstrated improvements in student outcomes, but
    that, on the contrary, negative consequences have been observed in the “real
    world,” including students who need the most help being denied access, loss of
    rigor, grade inflation, and, significantly, diminished faculty morale.

    Faculty understand that our colleges must
    continually strive to improve, but education is a complex social process and
    not an assembly line.

    The statewide Academic Senate for community
    colleges, which is made up of elected faculty representatives from every
    community college (I would not call them “some”), has a letter in opposition https://asccc.org/sites/def
    which states, “Performance based funding, even at
    20 percent, represents a misdirected

    approach which is likely to harm students and magnify
    regional achievement gaps and equity gaps.” I recently ended a term
    as president of my college’s academic senate, and I know and serve with these
    people: they are neither recluse, afraid, nor self-seeking.

    Community college faculty in California are not locked in an
    ivory
    tower, and we do not live in a suspended reality. We have dedicated our
    professional lives to work every day with some of those most deserving
    citizens in
    California, our students. Please, let’s keep the facile dismissals common in
    our current national politics out of our educational conversations and remain
    informed by real world data and analysis.

    Respectfully,

    Troy Myers
    English Department
    Sacramento City College
    Past-President Academic Senate
    Region F Governor,Faculty Association for California Community Colleges

  • Kim Perigo

    Hmmm, I have been contemplating how to respond to
    such an indictment of our community colleges, the staff, faculty and administration
    that work tirelessly to run them on (comparatively to all other public
    education systems) a shoe-string budget. I opine that the vast majority of the trouble we face come from the leaders at the top, very much like the ones who wrote this
    article–they fail to recognize the importance of full-time faculty, fail to
    change the 50% laws to include counselors, librarians and tutors on the
    instructional side of the instructional equation, fail to recognize that we accept ALL
    students regardless of their qualifications, preparedness or commitment, fail to
    the recognize significant barriers our students face such as food and housing insecurities. Additionally, they fail to acknowledge what we do–we are
    teaching not manufacturing–we are not like a business, we do not selling
    degrees and are not motivated by building a better and more efficient widget.
    This article showcases the worst in our system, one in which perpetuates the
    narrative that colleges do nothing, do not care about anything, collect
    paychecks and have a nice day. I have never once come to my classroom and said,
    “Oh, good, you showed up, see you tomorrow!” nor have I witness that
    in any classroom that I have observed. Talk about an ivory tower-I would start
    the fund raising drive so that the authors could get a telescope to see out of
    their tower into the amazing, engaged, interactive, dynamic classrooms at the
    community college and how much we do for pennies.

  • Linda Sneed

    Here is what Troy Myers posted here multiple times; I repost with his permission:

    Troy Myers

    I have taught community college English for twenty-four years, and I am surprised to see the president of my local board of trustees, someone also appointed to the statewide Board of Governors, and someone I consider a friend, co-sign an article thin on facts. At the personal level, I am saddened to see a cliché and populist pejorative, “ivory tower,” promoted by one of the leaders of our system to describe faculty and faculty leadership in California; faculty, who, after research and dialogue, continue to reject the concept of performance-based funding, or the community college version of the failed No Child Left Behind.

    It is significant that the authors of this piece and faculty want the same thing: an educated and fulfilled citizenry. We want community college students to thrive as professionals and as persons: white collar, blue collar, or Supreme Court collar (the Chief Justice of California, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, is an alumna of Sacramento City College). We share the knowledge that community colleges lift more Californians (myself included) out of the soul-deriding violence of poverty than any structure in our state.

    So why do we disagree here? Because Governor Brown is not right about everything! My colleague, Dave Fouquet, has already noted the Senate and Assembly budget committees rejected the hastily formulated college funding formula. Importantly, the respected, non-partisan think-tank at the Century Foundation summarizes what the national research has shown, performance-based funding does not work: https://tcf.org/content/report/why-performance-based-college-funding-doesnt-work/. Additionally, the authors of a book-length, national study titled Performance Funding for Higher Education, not only concur that data has not demonstrated improvements in student outcomes, but that, on the contrary, negative consequences have been observed in the “real world,” including students who need the most help being denied access, loss of rigor, grade inflation, and, significantly, diminished faculty morale.

    Faculty understand that our colleges must continually strive to improve, but education is a complex social process and not an assembly line.

    The statewide Academic Senate for community colleges, which is made up of elected faculty representatives from every community college (I would not call them “some”), has a letter in opposition https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/May%20Revise%202018%20Letter.pdf which states, “Performance based funding, even at 20 percent, represents a misdirected approach which is likely to harm students and magnify regional achievement gaps and equity gaps.” I recently ended a term as president of my college’s academic senate, and I know and serve with these people: they are neither recluse, afraid, nor self-seeking.

    Community college faculty in California are not locked in an ivory tower, and we do not live in a suspended reality. We have dedicated our professional lives to work every day with some of those most deserving citizens in California, our students. Please, let’s keep the facile dismissals common in our current national politics out of our educational conversations and remain informed by real world data and analysis.

    Respectfully,

    Troy Myers

    English Department

    Sacramento City College

    Past-President Academic Senate

    Region F Governor, Faculty Association for California Community Colleges

  • Linda Sneed

    This post was removed again, for the …. fifth time? With no explanation….

    SO, here it is again, from Troy Meyers:

    Troy Myers

    I have taught community college English for twenty-four years, and I am surprised to see the president of my local board of trustees, someone also appointed to the statewide Board of Governors, and someone I consider a friend, co-sign an article thin on facts. At the personal level, I am saddened to see a cliché and populist pejorative, “ivory tower,” promoted by one of the leaders of our system to describe faculty and faculty leadership in California; faculty, who, after research and dialogue, continue to reject the concept of performance-based funding, or the community college version of the failed No Child Left Behind.

    It is significant that the authors of this piece and faculty want the same thing: an educated and fulfilled citizenry. We want community college students to thrive as professionals and as persons: white collar, blue collar, or Supreme Court collar (the Chief Justice of California, Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, is an alumna of Sacramento City College). We share the knowledge that community colleges lift more Californians (myself included) out of the soul-deriding violence of poverty than any structure in our state.

    So why do we disagree here? Because Governor Brown is not right about everything! My colleague, Dave Fouquet, has already noted the Senate and Assembly budget committees rejected the hastily formulated college funding formula. Importantly, the respected, non-partisan think-tank at the Century Foundation summarizes what the national research has shown, performance-based funding does not work: https://tcf.org/content/report/why-performance-based-college-funding-doesnt-work/. Additionally, the authors of a book-length, national study titled Performance Funding for Higher Education, not only concur that data has not demonstrated improvements in student outcomes, but that, on the contrary, negative consequences have been observed in the “real world,” including students who need the most help being denied access, loss of rigor, grade inflation, and, significantly, diminished faculty morale.

    Faculty understand that our colleges must continually strive to improve, but education is a complex social process and not an assembly line.

    The statewide Academic Senate for community colleges, which is made up of elected faculty representatives from every community college (I would not call them “some”), has a letter in opposition https://asccc.org/sites/default/files/May%20Revise%202018%20Letter.pdf which states, “Performance based funding, even at 20 percent, represents a misdirected approach which is likely to harm students and magnify regional achievement gaps and equity gaps.” I recently ended a term as president of my college’s academic senate, and I know and serve with these people: they are neither recluse, afraid, nor self-seeking.

    Community college faculty in California are not locked in an ivory tower, and we do not live in a suspended reality. We have dedicated our professional lives to work every day with some of those most deserving citizens in California, our students. Please, let’s keep the facile dismissals common in our current national politics out of our educational conversations and remain informed by real world data and analysis.

    Respectfully,

    Troy Myers

    English Department

    Sacramento City College

    Past-President Academic Senate

    Region F Governor, Faculty Association for California Community Colleges

  • lurch394

    Pamela Haynes has been a board member of Los Rios for a long time. I have spoken with her. I am disappointed that she does not know us well enough to think we live in an “ivory tower.” This is not Berkeley; it is a district of community colleges. We live in the real world. Has Kevin Johnson flunky Cassandra Jennings body-snatched our Pam Haynes?

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