EDITORIAL: Pros and cons of unit increase: Students and staff must step it up

Lariat Editorial Board

The English 1A curriculum at Saddleback College will change its course from a three-unit class to four units. This change will take effect in the fall 2011 semester.

Let’s take a look at a couple of the pros and cons with regard to the issue:

Pros:

The idea of making the English 1A classes into a transferable four-unit class is a good thing for a couple of reasons.

First off, our public school system lags behind most other states, and that means our students are far less prepared coming into community colleges.

To have the students learn the curriculum in their first years of college would mean being more prepared in other courses that require competent writing skills.

It benefits the student to catch up with the very same students they will be competing with not only in college, but in the future job market.

What today’s youth do not understand is that life is not fair. The best candidates get the best opportunities. Secondly, core classes are required for a reason. These classes represent the minimum skills needed to succeed in the real world. Employers are going to hire the best.

That’s what’s going to smack today’s college student right in the face when they are finished with school. The better-educated students will get the better jobs.

A caveat to the four-unit requirement is that not only are students going to have to step it up in the classroom, but the instructors will be required to step up their efforts as well. In addition, with today’s economy it may be the only realistic way for the school to make its money.

Students should realize that if the school isn’t bringing in enough money to support its number of impacted students, then it’s ultimately the student’s loss.

So although some may think it’s a bad idea to up the units, maybe it’s the only realistic situation for today’s economy.

Cons:

Overall, a four-unit class is a concept that will benefit the faculty more than the students taking the course. Two specific examples include the inconsistencies of instructors’ teaching styles and the additional money students will have for fork out for what equates to the same quantity and quality of learning.

Although the administration would like all instructors to be on the same page when it comes to the learning objectives, there will always be the stark contrast in teaching style of the laid-back, easy going instructor versus the strict authoritarian.

The students will never be able to learn on an equal basis and therefore will not be benefiting from the four-unit course. Also this credit hour increase is wasting students’ time and money on language arts curriculum students should have learned in high school. Especially with the $26 to $36 a unit boost to Saddleback’s tuition effective for the fall semester.

With the budget already in bad shape, as most people are and should be aware of, more money could equal more dropouts in the long run. Furthermore, this could mean even more students staying quite longer at the community college level than they already plan.

Before reaching college, students should have already learned the English curriculum. To prevent such drastic changes to a system that is already on shaky ground.

Four-unit courses might weed out some students who are less inclined to study and work for their grade, but overall is going to only serve to discourage the rest of them, and that should not be the goal of a community college.

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