College Chancellor: Requiring Students to Take Algebra is a 'Civil Rights Issue'

College Chancellor: Requiring Students to Take Algebra is a 'Civil Rights Issue'

A community college chancellor in California is proposing to get rid of the requirement that all students take intermediate algebra in an effort to boost the graduation rate at his institution.

Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California Community Colleges System, made the suggestion during a recent interview with National Public Radio, calling the requirement a “civil rights issue.” Specifically, Oakley said he wants to get rid of the requirement for any community college student who isn’t a STEM major, or focusing their studies in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.

“What we’re proposing is to take an honest look at what our requirements are and why we even have them,” Oakley said, adding that the college system he leads is going to look into “other math pathways” based on research at other colleges across the country.

Oakley said those “other math pathways” should be “actually relevant to the coursework that the student is pursuing.”

He took it one step further, suggesting that dropping the requirement would not only benefit students academically, but also portrayed it as a “civil rights issue.”

“This is also something that plagues all Americans, particularly low-income Americans,” Oakley said. “If you think about all the underemployed or unemployed Americans in this country who cannot connect to a job in this economy, which is unforgiving of those students who don’t have a credential, the biggest barrier for them is this algebra requirement. It’s what has kept them from achieving a credential.”

Currently, the graduation rate at California Community Colleges is just 48 percent. According to NPR, this includes the number of students who either graduate with an associate’s degree and those who transfer to a four-year college within six years of starting at CCC.

Oakley didn’t dispute the dismal graduation rate, and further disputed that he is taking the “easy way out” by simply dropping the requirement.

 

Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/news/2017/07/21/college-chancellor-requiring-students-to-take-algebra-is-a-civil-rights-issue

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