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CSU Engages in Fear-Mongering to Defeat Extended Education Bill

AB 2153 Will Not Result in Demise of Extended Education, Layoffs

05/19/2014

CSU administrators on several campuses have told Unit 4 members who work in extended education that if AB 2153 (Gray) “Postsecondary Education: Course Offerings” passes, extended education as we know it will cease to exist and Unit 4 members will be laid off.  That’s bunk.  Here are the facts:

Under current law:

  • Education Code section 89708 authorizes CSU to offer “special sessions,” i.e., “self-supporting instructional programs” for the purpose of “career enrichment” and “retraining.”
  • Section 89708 also provides: "The self-supporting special sessions shall not supplant regular course offerings available on a non-self-supporting basis during the regular academic year.
  • In recent years, many campuses has replaced state-support sections of courses that regularly matriculated undergraduate students need to graduate — and that thus have nothing to do with “career enrichment” or “retraining” — with self-support sections of the same courses, thereby increasing the cost of education for these students.  CSU has taken the position that as long as there remains a single state-support section of each course, the self-support sections have not “supplanted” the “regular course offerings” for the purposes of section 89708, although many students will be forced to take the more expensive self-support sections.

Under AB 2153 as amended on April 29, 2014:

  • A definition would be added to section 89708 to curb the current abuse of extended education according to which "a special session course ´supplants´ a state-supported course when an undergraduate matriculated student is required to take a more expensive special session course to graduate because a state-supported section of that course is unavailable either because the state-supported course is not offered that term or because all state-supported sections are full during the academic year at the student’s campus."
  • The following guarantee would be added to section 89708: "A matriculated student who is required to take a special session course to complete his or her undergraduate degree because a state-supported section of that course is unavailable in the academic year at the student’s campus shall pay the lesser of the state-supported section and special session course fee."
  • Also, a campus would no longer be able to "reduce the number of state-supported sections of an undergraduate course offering while increasing the number of sections of the self-supporting version of that course” or "offer special session programs at that campus at times or in locations that limit the number of regular course offerings that receive state funding.”  Moreover, “the number of special session sections of any individual course, including online courses, shall not exceed the number of state-supported sections of that course at a campus."
  • However, a campus would still be able to "add a self-supporting section of a course in a state-supported undergraduate degree program, add an undergraduate degree program, or increase the number of self-supporting sections of an undergraduate course offering” as long as two main requirements are satisfied: "The campus has made the determination that state resources are inadequate to provide for additional state-supported sections,” and "There is no corresponding reduction in the aggregate number of state-supported course offerings on that campus.”  The second requirement applies only in "an academic year for which the annual Budget Act has not reduced the budget of the California State University from the prior year’s funding level."

You can read current version of AB 2153 at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB2153.

As you can see, this is a far cry from the doomsday predictions that CSU administrators are passing around.  AB 2153 would curb the current abuse of extended education and benefit students who are already suffering under staggering tuition increases for state-supported sections and cannot afford to pay for even more expensive self-support sections.  AB 2153 would not abolish any legitimate use of extended education.  

AB 2153 is supported by CFA and several unions who represent employees at community colleges, including AFSCME, CSEA, CTA, and SEIU.  It is opposed only by the CSU Chancellor’s Office, management at several CSU campuses, and management at the Long Beach Community College District.  

Tellingly, CSU supports AB 2610 (Williams), rival legislation that would allow the CSU to develop, and effectively write into law, a definition of what it means for a self-support course to "supplant" a state-support course within the meaning of the prohibition against doing so in Education Code section 89708.  You can trust that CSU would come up with a definition under which it would never run afoul of that prohibition.  AB 2610 would thus set the fox to guard the henhouse

You can read the current version of AB 2610 at http://leginfo.legislature.ca.gov/faces/billNavClient.xhtml?bill_id=201320140AB2610.