Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

JOINT FAVORABLE REPORT

Bill No.:

HB-6321

Title:

AN ACT CONCERNING A COLLEGE TRANSITION PILOT PROGRAM.

Vote Date:

3/15/2011

Vote Action:

Joint Favorable Change of Reference to Education

PH Date:

2/17/2011

File No.:

SPONSORS OF BILL:

Representative Catherine F. Abercrombie

Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee

REASONS FOR BILL:

This bill establishes a pilot program for three adult education programs to offer college preparatory classes. This addresses a need faced by many high school graduates who are not prepared for college and must pay college tuition for remedial education.

RESPONSE FROM ADMINISTRATION/AGENCY:

George A. Coleman, Acting Commissioner, Department of Education: Testified and provided written testimony in opposition stating that, as written, this bill would be funded with current Adult Education grant monies. He said that these monies are already insufficient to fund their mandated target population; however he would not be opposed if an additional appropriation was made to support this pilot program.

Marc S. Herzog, Chancellor, Connecticut Community Colleges: Provided written testimony in support stating that the dramatic increase in Community College enrollment in the last ten years challenges the schools' ability to address all the education needs of these students. He believes enactment of this bill could provide support to the Community College system to increase graduation rates and meet the State's need for an educated workforce.

Dr. Louise Feroe, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, Connecticut State University System: Provided written testimony in support stating that such a program offers an alternative source for remediation classes and potential tuition savings for students.

She suggests the following questions be considered in forthcoming discussions on this bill:

1. How would the program be funded?

2. Who would offer the instruction?

3. How would the coursework be developed to meet the university expectations?

4. “Does this mean setting up another entire operation that would duplicate what the university already has in place and could run during the summer?”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF SUPPORT:

Rep. Catherine F. Abercrombie, 83rd District: Testified and provided written testimony in support stating that this bill would allow Community College students to take their required remedial coursework in less costly Adult Education courses. She said that Maine has successfully established such a program. She believes “by doing a pilot program we will be able to see what the exact costs will be and make adjustments as needed to go state wide.”

Gary M. ChesleyEd.D.Superintendent and Janice M. Jordan, Ph.D., Associate Superintendent, Bethel Public Schools: Testified and provided written testimony identifying the need for remediation classes for many college freshmen. They discussed a program designed through collaboration between Bethel Public Schools and Western SCU that has resulted in a 50% reduction in the need for remediation classes for high school graduates.

They provided a detailed proposal explaining the concepts of the program, its goals, response of teachers and specific techniques used. Other Connecticut State Universities are replicating this program with their local school systems.

Diane Goldsmith, Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium: Testified and provided written testimony in support. She offered the aid of CTDLC in the creation and delivery of an on-line pilot program for college prep classes. She explained that CTDLC has successfully obtained grant monies for other academic programs. She provided information on courseware for college entrance math proficiency that is being developed with a Gates Foundation grant.

Donald Friedman, Director, Meriden Adult, Continuing and Vocational Education: Testified and provided written testimony in support stating that enactment would save the state and students money. He noted that many Meriden students need remedial classes before entering credit bearing classes. Some of these students use so much of their grant monies on remedial classes that they end up not having enough fund to pay for classes to finish their associate or certificate program. He said that this bill would allow the students to take these classes in Adult Education at no cost. He offered for Meriden Adult Education to implement a pilot program when the bill is enacted.

Andrew Tyskiewicz, Division Director for Community Education, Capitol Region Education Council: Testified and provided written testimony in support urging that the Committee consider the “I-BEST” approach (Integrated Basic Skills and Vocational Training) for implementation of this bill. This approach allows the student to take remedial classes and simultaneously enter into their career certificate program. The “I-BEST” approach was modeled in Washington State and has been replicated in several other Community Colleges across the country. It links Adult Education programs with Community Colleges and leads to higher program completion rates.

MaryAnne Pascone, Managing Director for Transition to Employment, Capitol, Region Education Council: Testified in support describing some successful programs that utilize the “I-BEST” approach. The programs described were a partnership with Capital Community College for ESL (English as a 2nd language) students, and the “Bridges to Healthcare and Careers” program.

Rich Tariff, Director, EASTCONN Adult Services: Testified and submitted written testimony in support stating that 60% of the State's Community College students need remedial education courses. Nearly all of these students cannot attend Adult Ed classes because they are high school graduates. For this reason they must use their Pell Grants to pay for these remedial non-credited courses.

He described an existing program to address this problem that is offered by EASTCONN. It is based on their STEM program and was developed in collaboration with Quineboag Valley C.C. EASTCONN has been contracted through the local Workforce Investment Board to provide the classes at four CT Works office. The program helped 200 unemployed and underemployed in remedial math and writing classes last year. He suggests that by expanding this successful program the State could avoid “reinventing the wheel”.

John Beauregard, Executive Director, Eastern CT Workforce Investment Board: Submitted written testimony in support recognizing that many of Eastern Connecticut's unemployed and underemployed do not have the academic skills needed for Community College. He notes the successful workshops provided at CTWorks-East Career Centers by EASTCONN and requests that EASTCONN be the lead agency for this pilot in Eastern Connecticut.

Maggie Adair, Deputy Director, CT Association for Human Services: Testified and submitted written testimony in support stating that the most difficult job for faculty is teaching basic skills to students who did not learn them in elementary or high school.

She suggests the following questions be asked in regard to this issue:

1. When should remedial skills be taught?

2. Should a student be able to graduate without basic skills?

3. Is college the appropriate venue to teach these basic classes when a student graduates high school under-prepared?

She endorses co-location of Adult Ed classes within the Community College. She believes this would provide incentive to the students to continue their course of studies. She added that co-location would allow for replication of the successful I-BEST program. She recommends consideration of the I-BEST model for this pilot program.

Thomas Vecchitto, East Shore Region Adult & Continuing Education (ERACE): Testified and submitted written testimony in support. He discussed in detail the “Transition” and STEM programs that are offer by ERACE to provide remediation classes. He offers that ERACE has the proven ability to provide the staff and curriculum to implement this pilot program. “ERACE is part of the High School Partnership Programs at both Gateway Community College and the Porter and Chester Institute of Branford which provide our students the opportunity for dual, concurrent enrollement.”

NATURE AND SOURCES OF OPPOSITION:

None expressed

Reported by: Jeanne Reed, Assistant Clerk

Jeanie B. Phillips, Clerk

Date: March 28, 2011