Wednesday, January 28, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

College savings, accreditation focus of state legislation

By
From page A3 | February 23, 2014 |

By Nanette Asimov
A pair of higher education bills — one to stimulate college savings and the other to radically change the way community colleges are accredited in California — were introduced this week by Bay Area lawmakers.

State law currently requires California’s 112 community colleges to be accredited by the private Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges, one of six such agencies nationwide that are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

But the commission has run afoul of faculty and other advocates for its crackdown on City College of San Francisco, the state’s largest school. Three groups have sued the commission, and a judge has barred it from revoking City College’s accreditation until a trial determines whether the school was evaluated legally. The process has also highlighted the fact that the fate of public colleges rests with a private agency doing business behind closed doors.

Now, Assemblyman Rob Bonta, D-Alameda, has introduced AB 1942 to let college districts choose their own accrediting agency. Accrediting decisions – including appeals, which now go before the same commission that issued the negative verdict – would all be conducted in public.

Faculty and other critics are hailing the bill. Yet questions remain about how it would work.

Who would accredit the colleges? Would other agencies across the country be willing or able to take on the additional work of overseeing so many community colleges in a distant state? Those agencies are private, too. Why would they agree to become public agencies and take on extra work with no additional funding?

Aides to Bonta had no answers but said the state’s Board of Governors for community colleges could serve as an accreditor, or authorize new agencies to do the work.

“Looking for the most lenient accrediting commission would not be beneficial for any community college,” said Scott Lay, who heads the Community College League of California, which represents the interests of the state’s 72 college districts. “I would hate to see a shopping effort for the lowest common denominator.”

The issue is complicated, acknowledged Professor John Levin of UC Riverside, an education researcher who heads the California Community College Collaborative.

But he said the current system is so riddled with problems — including a lack of transparency, as well as high-stakes decisions that often confuse the colleges that are left to pick up the pieces — that reform is needed.

“So I applaud the principle” of the new bill, he said.

A second bill, AB 1956 by Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, would give families an additional financial incentive to sock away money for their children’s college education through ScholarShare, California’s version of the federal 529 college savings plan.

The plan already lets families set aside tax-free money for college.

The new bill would create a state tax credit equal to 20 percent of the money families contribute each year to the college savings plan. The tax credit would be capped at $500 a year.

The bill is estimated to cost the state up to $25 million a year. But Bonilla and Bill Lockyer, the state treasurer, say the state would ultimately benefit.

“It’s not an outright loss, but an investment,” Bonilla said, noting that Lockyer’s office projects that the bill would decrease student debt by $600 million over 20 years.

“The burden of debt is an enormous strain on society,” Bonilla said. “This type of investment begins to pay off for families.”

— Reach Nanette Asimov at nasimov@sfchronicle.com

Comments

comments

San Francisco Chronicle

.

News

Shrem Art Museum is a work of art itself

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
 
Police ID suspect in South Davis hit-and-run crash

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1

 
Thieves swipe Gold Rush-era nuggets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Blizzard-stricken East digs out amid second-guessing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2 | Gallery

 
CASA seeks volunteers to advocate for kids

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
UC Davis doctors strike

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Community invited to Fenocchio memorial

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

 
SHE to lead Center for Spiritual Living in sound healing

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

Teens Take Charge program accepting applications

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

 
Take a hike with Tuleyome on Feb. 7

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
The Soup’s On for NAMI-Yolo

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Sip wines at St. James’ annual tasting

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Kiwanis Crab, Pasta Feed benefits local charities

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Registration open for PSA Day at Davis Media Access

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Brick sales will benefit Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Capay Valley Almond Festival will tempt your taste buds

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
State fails to track billions in mental health funds

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

CSU chancellor calls for increasing graduation rates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Covered California enrollment events planned

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Suds for a bug: Contest is over

By Kathy Keatley Garvey | From Page: A7

 
Rebekahs’ crab feed benefits local families

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

Learn pattern darning tips at guild meeting

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

 
.

Forum

Family feels cut off here

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Think again on euthanasia

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

Let’s speak with accuracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Tom Meyer cartoon

By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

A stunning contradiction here

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
It’s the final freedom

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

 
Move past the stereotypes

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

.

Sports

Williams-less Gauchos will test Aggie men

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1

 
Devil snowboarders place second in short and slushy GS

By Margo Roeckl | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Lady Blue Devils take care of business

By Thomas Oide | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Davis club ruggers open with nationally celebrated Jesuit on Friday

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
DHS ski team takes second on a déjà vu day

By Tanya Perez | From Page: B8 | Gallery

.

Features

Name droppers: Arboretum director wins leadership award

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Lemon tree, very pretty: Our most local fruit?

By Dan Kennedy | From Page: A10 | Gallery

.

Arts

Granger Smith to play at The Davis Graduate

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Art science speaker series event set for Feb. 5

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Young musicians to perform Winter Concerto Concert

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
Red Meat, Deke Dickerson bring rockabilly honky-tonk twang to The Palms

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

.

Business

.

Obituaries

Death notice: Betty J. Cogburn

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Mary Beth Warzecka

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Comics: Wednesday, January 28, 2015

By Creator | From Page: B6