Bill AB 1306, will it actually help?

Joseph Jewett

California Assemblyman Scott Wilk proposed Bill AB 1306 which will create the New University of California and a new style of learning. Currently we have the California Community College, University of California and California State University system which all offer traditional classes. However, the New University of California is taking education in a different direction.

Bill AB 1306 proposes a system of education where you can get a two or four-year degree without attending any classes. The goal is to make college affordable and accessible for as many people as possible. The basic idea of the new education system is for students to learn on their own, using a method of their own choice, and then all the New University of California does is administer an exam in the course you choose.

This bill seems like a good idea at first glance, especially to college students when they read you don’t have to be in any classrooms and that it is a lot cheaper than other forms of higher education.

This system requires students to do all of the learning on their own. This means they either have to research and teach themselves, take paid courses elsewhere, or take massive online open courses (MOOCs).

This bill is not the right course of action for higher education at this point. The higher education system has serious problems that should be addressed rather than adding another system that will most likely fail.

Why will it fail? Because, students will have to teach themselves or seek out their own classes. Self-research is one of the main methods students can use to try to pass these exams because it is cheap and based around the individual’s schedule. However, this requires serious focus and dedication to education with literally no support through the New University of California. Students can also seek out paid courses wherever they would like and then can use that information to pass the exams, but the class you take will not necessarily follow the information you need for the exam. Furthermore, this defeats the purpose of the college being cheap if you have to pay for the class. Finally there are MOOCs — generally free massive online courses that offer educational resources. However, according to, the “UC system attempted to launch its own courses through MOOCs last year and was not successful. The UC system was originally expecting to enroll non-UC students in 7,000 online courses.” Only one student enrolled in the system, so it’s safe to say it was a failure.

There are many pros and cons to self-directed learning. I believe there are more cons though. Sure it’s convenient and possibly cheaper than other forms of higher education, but what quality of education are you getting? Are we qualified to teach ourselves? The answer to this is different for each person, but I think as a whole, society is not qualified or focused enough to teach themselves well enough to earn a degree.

The workforce is currently having issues finding qualified workers, and the issue isn’t that there aren’t enough people working toward the degrees, it’s that many are not applying themselves and learning the concepts well enough to actually do the job.

This will only get worse if we leave the teaching to the people who are supposed to be learning.

This may be the right path for higher education one day, but now is not the time.