A controversial Cal State University proposal to require a fourth year of math-related coursework for admission came under robust questioning and at times harsh criticism Wednesday from top state educators and others who said it would unfairly block black and Latino students from the system with no guarantee that it would improve graduation rates.
More than 90 social justice groups, education organizations, and school district and legislative leaders from across the state have voiced their opposition to the plan, first proposed in 2016 and enthusiastically embraced by CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White as a way to raise standards and graduation rates, close achievement equity gaps and better prepare California’s future workforce.
In the fifth board hearing this year on the issue, tensions surfaced in testimony. The proposal calls for CSU admits to take an additional year of math, science or other quantitative coursework, such as computer science or personal finance. At the heart of the debate are questions about educational access for the hundreds of thousands of students who apply to and attend the nation’s largest public four-year university system.
“What is it that you found in research that shows that this course, more than anything else — that this course is the secret sauce that will improve graduation and retention rates for the students that we say we seek to serve?” asked State Supt. of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond, an ex-officio member of the board.
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