ACE may fold

Miresa Wilson

The Academy for College Excellence may not be offered in 2013 due to lack of funding for the program.

ACE is a non-institutionalized program offered at Los Medanos College that currently runs solely on grant money.

“When the grants end, ACE must find new money,” said Tue Rust, the ACE coordinator at LMC, “This is ironic because ACE costs almost no money.”

Rust added the other reason why ACE won’t be offered is Math 27 or Path to Stats will not be offered next semester. Path to Stats was cut from the spring schedule due to outside pressure from California State University’s faculty who believe its current form is not a suitable substitute for Algebra 2 as a pre-requisite to statistics.

Rust has explained that to him students not making it through the math sequence is more than academic issue, but is also a social justice issue, which the academy works to address.

The funding gap for ACE according to Rust is marginal since it does not require a counselor, staff, field trip money, or release time. To run ACE, LMC would only need to offer 4.5 units of classes. But LMC is currently “at cap,” said Rust. Since the state funds community colleges and funding is limited, to offer new classes, or to move grant-funded classes to state-funding, existing ones must be cut to make room.

But due to recent budget cuts at LMC, almost all non-essential classes have already been cut from the schedule so there is little room to accommodate ACE classes once grant funding is gone.

ACE is a nationally recognized full-time program that began its first cohorts at LMC in 2010.

“In fall 2010, less than one half of eligible students attempted to take English 90 and a developmental math class. Only 9% succeeded, but because many students began two or more levels below transfer level math. Only 4% completed both their math and English transfer requirements in one year,” said Rust, adding that of all the students participating in the ACE program, 41% succeeded and every  successful ACE student completed transfer level English and math requirements.

“Math is a part of everything we do,” said Andre Cubit, LMC’s current ACE president, “From combing your hair to brushing your teeth in the morning, everything is a math equation.”

Students in a cohort take all their ACE classes together. This helps build a sense of community and group support.

“You have all your classes with the same people, so you get to know them,” said Charlotte Owen, an ACE student, adding that all the classes are connected, and assignments are organized so students don’t have too many big assignments at the same time.

“We come together like a family,” said ACE student  David Hughes, “There’s a lot of support from peers and instructors.”

Elijah Mays, another ACE student, said the support system and feedback from the other students makes him want to do better.

ACE students work together to complete projects and understand assignments.

“It opens you up to not be afraid to ask questions of other students,” said ACE student Tony Valencia, “We all look out for each other.”

Maro’jene Alexander, an ACE student said that the program guarantees students the classes they need by eliminating the need to fight for “jam-packed” classes that aren’t a part of ACE.

“Tue showed me the leadership skills inside myself,” said Cubit. “If not for the program, I wouldn’t be where I am now.”