Statement on UC Task Force Report on Standardized Testing

Stark disparities in eligibility and admissions to the University of California (UC) by race, ethnicity and income are indefensible, yet unfortunately the UC’s Standardized Testing Task Force came to the defense of well-known race and class stratifiers: the ACT and SAT.

If the UC cannot use race/ethnicity to close persistent gaps in university access, then it should not be allowed to use standardized tests known to exacerbate inequality by race/ethnicity and wealth. Today, nearly 60% of California high school graduates are Latinx, Black or Native American. However, Latinx, Black and Native American students only make up one-third of admitted freshmen to the UC.

For more than a year, the Task Force has been evaluating the UC’s use of standardized tests in admissions and they conclude that the UC should continue to use the tests until a better assessment tool can be devised in nine years.

A careful read of the report makes it clear that there are competing arguments in favor of and in opposition to eliminating standardized testing in admissions. For example, the Task Force recognizes adverse effects of standardized testing, stating, “If group score differences reflect historic injustices, then continuing to use them continues to perpetuate the effects of these prior injustices.” The report then goes on to justify continued use because “UC’s admissions process helped make up for the potential adverse effect of differences between groups.” Read more

California State University Trustees Delay Raising Admissions Requirements After Advocates Rally

Proposal threatening to widen racial equity gaps in admission to the CSU tabled until study proves change is needed and will not create disparate impact.

The Campaign for College Opportunity, alongside the Education Trust—West, mobilized a broad coalition of over 100 civil rights, labor, education, and student advocates to oppose a harmful proposal to raise requirements for admission to the California State University (CSU). Today, after nearly a year of pressure from the coalition, the CSU Board of Trustees vote to delay the proposal until after an impact study is completed.

At the CSU Board of Trustees meeting today, advocates applauded the trustees for taking the necessary pause for an independent analysis, they continue to urge the trustees to ensure the analysis includes:
1. Evidence of the necessity of the policy and reviews of alternative opportunities for raising graduation rates
2. How the policy would impact eligibility, applications, and admission by race/ethnicity, income, and region
3. The capacity of K-12 districts to implement the policy and the costs of implementation

While the Trustees are to be commended, the Campaign for College Opportunity and other advocates will continue to push to ensure any change to admissions does not increase gaps in opportunity for Black, Latinx, Native American and low-income students who attend under-resourced schools.

“The schools that have the fewest number of qualified teachers are also in the schools that have the highest percentage of racially segregated students, and the students who have the highest level of poverty – there are more than 24 school districts in our state who have the highest level of poverty, highest level of racial segregation, and highest percentage of non-credentialed teachers teaching our students,” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond during the meeting. Read more

Statement in Support of March 3rd Ballot Proposition: Public Preschool, K-12, and College Health & Safety Bond of 2020

Proposition 13 is a critical measure that directs funding generated by a new bond to schools, colleges, and universities.

Proposition 13 would allocate $2 billion each to the UC, CSU and California Community Colleges to support their facility needs, as well as $9 billion towards K-12 schools. Each dollar that higher education systems spend from their general operating budgets for facility needs means one less dollar to support increasing enrollment, investing in financial aid for low-income students, or expanding services to help students successfully graduate.

Our state’s colleges and universities have reported significant financial need for the maintenance of their facilities. At the University of California (UC), deferred maintenance needs have compounded into a backlog estimated to cost $3.2 – $5 billion, with another $3.7 billion estimated from the California State University (CSU); across the community colleges deferred maintenance costs reach $200 million annually.

Proposition 13 would also ensure that public universities take more proactive steps in creating more affordable housing for students. The measure requires the UC and CSU to develop five-year affordable student housing plans for each of their campuses. Read more

Statement by The Campaign for College Opportunity and The Education Trust–West on CSU Resolution on Admissions Requirements: Quantitative Reasoning

We applaud the California State University (CSU) Chancellor, the Chancellor’s Office staff, the CSU Trustees, the Legislature, and advocates who have all worked together to ensure the process of considering a change in eligibility requirements yields an outcome that preserves equal opportunity to access and success at the CSU.

The CSU Chancellor’s Office has put before the CSU Trustees a resolution that acknowledges and addresses key concerns about the necessity of an eligibility change, future access and disparate impact raised for the better part of a year by over 100 civil rights and education advocates, the California Teachers Association and School Districts, School Boards, and Administrators across the state.

The resolution CSU Trustees will be asked to vote on at the January 28-29 meeting in Long Beach calls for an independent analysis to assess implementation impact, as well as the creation of an implementation steering committee that can help guide the Chancellor’s Office and Trustees as they navigate the next steps of this proposal.

A final vote on changing eligibility requirements will be set for 2022, assuming the independent analysis and steering committee recommend the change moves forward. Read more

Governor Newsom Keeps Commitments to Higher Education in 2nd Budget Proposal

Governor proposes $110 million increase over last year’s budget with historic focus on closing racial equity gaps in college access, success and faculty representation.

(Los Angeles, CA) — Governor Gavin Newsom proposed $36 billion in his second budget for higher education citing the critical role a degree plays for individual economic mobility and in keeping California’s workforce strong. A first amongst governors of the state, Governor Newsom spoke about the need to intentionally address racial disparities in college access, success and affordability and his expectation that budget investments be used to do so.

The Governor’s budget sets an expectation that the California Community Colleges, California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems expand access, improve time-to-degree, improve graduation rates, close achievement gaps and meet the needs of students in key underserved regions of the state.

In addition to proposing $32 million for enrollment growth at California Community Colleges, the Governor proposed $15 million for a pilot fellowship program to improve faculty diversity; a program, that when implemented, should have immediate effects on recruitment, hiring, classroom instruction and professional development that results in significantly more faculty that are Black, Latinx, Asian and Native American. In his press conference, the Governor acknowledged the growing racial diversity of our campus student bodies and the importance of students having faculty that look like them as a key student success strategy.

The budget includes a five-percent increase in on-going General Fund support to the UC ($217.7 million) and CSU ($199 million) to support operations, enrollment growth and improving graduation rates. The Governor was explicit about his desire to see the systems grow the number of seats at the most impacted and in-demand campuses while improving degree completion for underrepresented groups. Read more

Statement on the retirement of California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White

(Los Angeles, CA) — The Campaign for College Opportunity wishes to thank Chancellor White for his years of dedicated service to the California State University (CSU) system. Appointed in 2012, Chancellor White has led significant efforts to increase state funding, improve graduation rates for students, and bring greater gender-balance to presidential posts across the 23 campuses.

Chancellor White took the helm of the CSU when state funding had declined by nearly $1 billion. Since then, Chancellor White has led successful campaigns in the State Capitol calling for reinvestment in the CSU. His efforts have led to a state general fund allocation increase of $3.6 billion. Those additional resources have been allocated to expanding capacity to serve more students and toward the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025.

On August 2, 2017, Chancellor White issued Executive Order 1110, which retired the use of assessment exams for English and math placement and eliminated the use of stand-alone remedial education courses. All incoming CSU students are now placed directly into credit-bearing, college-level math and English courses with additional student supports. The policy acknowledges students are ready for college and that it is our colleges and universities themselves that must do a better job of supporting students. The policy is already seeing tremendous success; between 2017-18 there was an eight-fold increase in students who completed a college-level lower division math course in their first year.

Chancellor White has also been an ardent champion of gender equity. Today, twelve of the 23 CSU campus presidents are women; eleven of whom have been appointed during Chancellor White’s tenure. Under White’s leadership, CSU has had the largest number of women presidents in CSU history and is nearly double the national average.

Chancellor White has had a remarkable career serving students as professor, dean, provost, campus Chancellor and systemwide Chancellor and we wish him the best in retirement.

We now look to the CSU Board of Trustees to be diligent and transparent as they select a successor that reflects and understands the diversity of today’s California students and the unique space the CSU occupies in serving first-generation, low-income, racially diverse students. Read more

New Law is Catalyzing Big Changes at California Community Colleges

Colleges in Los Angeles, Inland Empire and Central Valley take key steps to tackle long-standing problems with remedial education, but progress is uneven.

(Los Angeles, CA) – – The Campaign for College Opportunity released a regional progress report, “Getting There: Are California Colleges Maximizing Student Completion of Transfer-Level Math and English?” that looks at how well California’s community colleges are implementing AB 705, a new law intended to reform remedial education.

Beginning this fall, California’s community colleges are required, under AB 705, to utilize a student’s high school grades for English and math course placement. The law also prohibits colleges from denying students access to transfer-level courses and gives students the right to begin in courses where they have the best chance of completing the English and math requirements for a bachelor’s degree. Until now, colleges largely relied on ineffective standardized tests that placed more than 75% of incoming students into lengthy remedial math and/or English sequences where few ever reached transfer-level courses or achieved their college goals.

The progress report, conducted by the California Acceleration Project, looks at course schedules from 47 colleges in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley and finds that AB 705 has catalyzed tremendous changes in community college course offerings. Between 2018 and 2019, colleges have doubled the proportion of transfer-level courses they are offering; transfer-level classes have increased from 45 percent to 88 percent in English and from 33 percent to 71 percent in math. Read More

Governor Newsom Budget Update Prioritizes Higher Education

Budget expands funding for access, student success and affordability

In his updated budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom maintains his commitment to fund thousands of new seats for California students, invest in proven practices that improve graduation rates, and remove barriers to college affordability. While higher than expected tax revenues increased the total higher education budget from the governor’s January proposal by an estimated $200 million,  they led to modest  financial aid investments; notably the expansion of a second year of free community college tuition through the California College Promise and rapid rehousing efforts at the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems.

The governor’s updated budget maintains $10 million to establish a strong educational data system from pre-K to K-12 to college and the workforce. Now is the time for the Governor to exert his leadership in creating a statewide higher education coordinating body that is inclusive of civil rights and business communities. The coordinating body can set an ambitious North Star goal for statewide college attainment and regularly monitor progress towards meeting the state’s workforce and economic demands while holding our colleges and universities accountable for improvement and the closing of persistent racial/ethnic gaps.

“In 2018, Governor Newsom (then Lieutenant Governor) shared his vision for higher education during our gubernatorial forum and he is making good on many promises– including establishing a data system and expanding seats at UC and CSU. However, a wholesale reimagining of financial aid that is simplified, reflects the true cost of college and meets the needs of low-income students must be top of mind for the governor along with a coordinating body that can ensure his investments lead to improved student outcomes,” said Jessie Ryan, Executive Vice President of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Key Higher Education Budget Highlights:

Longitudinal Data System

  • No change from January proposal. $10 million one-time allocation to plan, develop, and implement a longitudinal data system to connect student information from early education through the workforce… Read more.

More Black Californians are Graduating High School and Going to College, but State’s Colleges and Universities are Failing to Graduate Many of Them

Two-thirds of Black adults have gone to college but only half left with a degree

Los Angeles, CA – Today, The Campaign for College Opportunity released “The State of Higher Education for Black Californians,” a landmark report that reveals progress the state is making in better preparing Black students for college even while major inequities in college access and completion persist at our community colleges and universities.

California is home to 2.2 million Black residents and has long benefited from significant contributions by Black Californians who have made the state more equitable, prosperous, and entrepreneurial. However, growing racial equity gaps in education mean that too many talented Black students do not earn the degrees and credentials they need to be upwardly mobile and that the state needs for its economy.

The good news is that a record number of Black 19-year-olds – nearly 90 percent – have a high school diploma, more Black students are prepared for college, and many more are enrolling in college than in years past. There are currently over 204,000 Black undergraduate students in California, the majority (84 percent) of whom are enrolled in California’s public colleges or universities. Two-thirds of Black adults have gone to college and for Black students who attend the University of California (UC), 75% will graduate in six years…Read more.

Governor Newsom Prioritizes Higher Education in First Budget Proposal

The new Governor proposes a historic $1.4 billion increase over last year’s budget with key investments in college access, success, and affordability.

In his first budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom demonstrates that he clearly understands the value of a college education in helping to break the cycle of poverty, providing life-long opportunity, and creating a strong economy. Budget investments for thousands of new seats for California students, proven practices that improve graduation rates, and college affordability are the first steps toward the bold new vision and action California needs in higher education.

Understanding that free community college is just one tool to address the affordability challenges facing today’s students, Governor Newsom rightly proposes over $150 million to address hunger, housing, and the needs of student parents at our community colleges and public universities.

We applaud the governor for giving a clear directive to our college and university leaders to continue to improve transfer, time to degree, student success, and to close college success gaps.

The governor has kept his campaign promise to establish a strong educational data system from pre-K to K-12 to college and the workforce. Now is the time for the governor to exercise his leadership in establishing a statewide higher education coordinating body that is inclusive of the civil rights and business communities, that can set an ambitious North Star goal for statewide college attainment, that regularly monitors progress, and holds our colleges and universities accountable for delivering on the foundation the governor is laying in his budget proposal.

“The governor is proposing significant investments in expanding college access, improving college affordability, supporting undocumented students, and requiring our college campuses to improve transfer, time to degree, and close gaps for underserved students – that is a win for our students and our economy,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity…read more.