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Education for All

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Higher Education has left behind the image of an American college population featuring predominantly young men and women from affluent, well connected families. Being a college student myself at age 50, I notice the diversity in student demographics. College represents a new beginning for those who have been affected by the recent economical changes all over the country but mostly in California. The visibility of nontraditional students earning a degree while raising families is commonplace. The availability of financial aid, scholarships, and federal loan programs has opened collegiate doors for students of all income levels and cultural backgrounds. I had many reservations in regards to entering the education arena so many years after graduating high school. I had concerns that I would not be able to pass an entrance exam. In the article “College Entrance Examination Board” in the Encyclopedia of Education, Second Edition, The College Examination Board is the body that creates the nationally recognized college entrance exam referred to as the Scholastic Assessment Test or SAT which is taken by one million students annually and is required for admission by many four year colleges and universities (372). According to the “Assessment Requirements” article on the website, California Colleges, most California Community Colleges require a placement assessment test to accurately place students in appropriate classes based on each individual’s level of ability. After taking the placement test for Mt San Jacinto Community College, I was amazed at the simplicity of the test itself. However, my reading and comprehension is still college level and unsurprising to me since I have been out of school since 1979, the test showed that I would require some remedial math and grammar. Since becoming a student in a California college I have become aware of several things. According to the Postsecondary Education Commissions article “Admission and residency requirements” on the website California Postsecondary Education Commission, by law all California Community Colleges are required to admit any California resident who graduated from high school. In addition, community colleges may admit individuals who have not graduated but are over 18 years old and can benefit from the instruction offered. The Commission article further states California Community Colleges serve 1.6 million students every year and a California resident may attend any community college campus in the state. According to article “California High School Exit Examination,” on the website California Department of Education, in California all high school students must pass a test to earn a high school diploma, the test itself is called the CAHSEE. I further investigated this exam, and found another article referring to the CAHSEE called “Help with the California High School Exit Exam” on the website San Diego County Office of Education. In which the San Diego County Office of Education outlined the components of the CAHSEE exam. I was absolutely amazed. The test covers the curriculum of the courses I was placed in after taking the placement test at Mt San Jacinto Community College. I understand the placement of someone who has been out of school for over 30 years, but what I absolutely do not understand are the amount of students in the same classes as I am who are fresh out of high school. Something is definitely wrong. I have discovered that California Community Colleges are the melting pot for students that didn’t make it in high school and now are taking up space in the largest education system in the state. In fact, with the budget cuts in the State of California affecting class availability in the community colleges, obtaining the necessary classes for every student’s educational goal is challenging. I received an email from Enrollment Services at Mt. San Jacinto Community College, titled “Policy Changes Effective Summer 2012,” its content... Show More

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