An ACE not in our sleeves

Pete Costanza

There are many paths, which can be taken to reach any goal and each one of them is going to have a set of obstacles to overcome. An element that has helped numerous LMC students realize their goals is the Academy for College Excellence (ACE) unfortunately students in the Spring 2013 semester will not be able to be part of it.

The reason for the program being cut is partially because of a lack of funding due to a grant, which has funded the program has run out. Math Professor Tue Rust said the program costs very little to run, but the college is unable to switch it from the grant base to a regular state funding base without the college sacrificing something else.

Another contributing factor is that Math 27 or Path to Stats will not be offered next semester because California State Universities won’t recognize the class in its current form as a valid prerequisite alternate for statistics in the place of the traditional Algebra 2.

The travesty for students is ACE helps to remove a barrier to students reaching their transfer and professional goals.

It is true that there is no way to realize a dream if it is handed to you, because simply being handed a trophy or diploma is worthless without all the effort which preceded it. However, some challenges exist not because of a lack of personal drive, but because the opportunities didn’t exist to prepare students or they simply weren’t ready when they came. The academy address both of these challenges by taking students who come to LMC that aren’t quite at collegiate standards, and teaching them the skills they need in a cohort, which goes a step beyond a learning community atmosphere since the students take all of their classes together. The fact students see each other for more than one class helps breakdown feelings of isolation according to ACE David Hughes and Tony Valencia both of whom believe the structure of the program allows the students to help support each others learning.

The ACE program also has a social justice component, which melds perfectly with one of the goals of Rust who sees the chronic inability of students to complete the math sequence of pre-Algebra, Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 as disproportionately affecting some ethnicities more than others.

The bonds formed by taking English 90 and Math 27 along with a course designed to give the students tools to overcome their challenges is a recipe for success according to ACE President Andre Cubit who came to view math in an entirely new way thanks to his experience with the academy.

1 + 1 + 1 will always equal 3 and ACE if it continued to be offered, would always be a valuable presence at LMC as a way for students to reach their goals and it needs to be brought back to the college campuses community.