Success card unveiled (Editorial)

Success+card+unveiled+%28Editorial%29

Karl Compton

Brice Harris, chancellor of the California Community Colleges system, unveiled the Student Success Scorecard last Tuesday at DVC.

The scorecard will measure student achievement at all of California’s community college’s, broken down by student ethnicity and by individual schools, among other measures.

This scorecard is described as an accountability measure and according to the Chancellor’s office, it will make the California Community College’s system the most transparent school system ever, because anyone will be able see the data online.

The chancellor’s office assures us that this is not intended to compare schools, and even if it were, it won’t make much difference for students or parents, because they likely have only their local community college district as an option, no matter how well or poorly it performs according to the scorecard.

It appears to be the first step toward performance, or outcomes base funding, a topic that was on the table early on in the Student Success Task Force discussions in 2010, which set this initiative, among others, in motion.

The Task Force dropped the performance based funding discussion because of its unpopularity, but it appears that Sacramento is making steady progress toward this end.

Reforming the California Community college’s funding system has been on the table for quite some time actually, long before this long recession which now serves as the excuse for setting all these new rules and accountability measures into action.

The State legislative analysts office and other researchers have been saying that the current funding model is wasteful.

That might be true in many respects, but if performance based funding for the community college system is in the works, the Chancellor’s should be as transparent as the schools under their umbrella as to what their plans are.

What funding models are legislators looking at? What do the strengths and weaknesses of performance based funding lie? What about the strengths and weaknesses of the current funding model?

The Chancellor’s office says that this scorecard is a one of a kind tool in the service of the community, but ultimately, it is a small part of the much discussed and somewhat controversial issue of performance based funding.

It looks like were quietly headed in the direction of performance, or outcomes based funding, and so we ask the state Chancellor’s office to just come out and say so if that’s the case, so we can all have a thoughtful and transparent discussion about this issue.