One of the strongest educational tools we have to increase student interest in school and increase graduation rates while reducing the cost of a college education is “dual enrollment.”
Dual enrollment is a term we use in education that leverages partnerships between high school and community colleges to create a seamless pathway from high school to college. Once a partnership is formed, such as the one the Fresno Unified School District trustees approved unanimously with Fresno City College recently, high school students are able to complete college courses while still attending high school. This allows high school students to take courses in a specific area of career interest and gives them a head start to get a job, whether they choose career and technical education courses or college transfer classes in general education.
Most dual enrollment programs consist of college-level courses offered on a high school campus taught by qualified high school faculty or college professors. Regardless of the delivery mode, at a high school or on a college campus, dual enrollment is an investment in our youth yielding a high return. Viable research has demonstrated that dual enrollment students are much more likely to complete high school, enter college, persist and graduate career ready.
This is more important than ever in our Valley where our dropout rates are 7 percent higher and where 39 percent of our students are first-generation college attendees. There has been a misconception that dual enrollment programs are only available for advanced placement honor students. This is not true. In fact, dual enrollment benefits all students from diverse backgrounds, from continuation high school students to honor students, and has been shown to have an especially strong impact on first-generation college-goers. Yet, sadly, statistics indicate the students who would benefit the most from dual enrollment are some of the least likely to take advantage of it.
We need to change that! To ensure a vibrant future for our Valley, it is my strong belief that California Community Colleges must make a greater investment in dual enrollment initiatives.
Here are just a few of the benefits we’d see if we did:
The first step to a greater investment in dual enrollment is to support the passage of Assembly Bill 30 authored by Assemblyman Christopher Holden and co-authored by Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno. AB 30 protects dual enrollment from expiring and provides greater certainty to existing partnerships statewide by simplifying the student application process and streamlining partnerships between districts.
Please join me in supporting AB 30 and in making a greater investment in dual enrollment to ensure we’re able to meet the needs of our students and we have a viable Valley for generations to come.
Dr. Carole Goldsmith
Fresno City College
1101 E. University Ave.
Fresno, CA 93741
Phone: (559) 489-2212
Fax: (559) 499-6045