Faculty Guild chapters are proceeding with grievances filed since June against seven District colleges and LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez. An eighth college (Mission) will also be filing a grievance. Concerned about the negative consequences of the elimination of most remedial courses in English and math, the Guild contends that the Chancellor failed to consult with faculty before issuing his directive to the colleges to cancel all remedial courses in math and English lower than one level below transfer. The Guild is asking him to rescind his directive and for college administrators (some of whom went further and cut classes just one level below transfer level) to restore the canceled courses. The Academic Senate has also requested that the Chancellor reverse his decision. Many faculty members in these disciplines throughout the District share these concerns, particularly since data now show that eviscerating remedial courses has not improved student success.
The District contends that the grievances are not arbitrable. In a December meeting with 18 Guild representatives, including chapter presidents, grievance reps, as well as math and English instructors, the union’s attorney explained that if the District continues to refuse to arbitrate, the Guild plans to file a petition in Superior Court to compel arbitration.
Poor success rates recently released by the District show that the Chancellor’s directive did not decrease the need for remedial education. While the District is providing increased funding for tutoring, classroom aides, labs, and online assistance, most students “don’t do optional.” In addition, most incoming LAUSD students don’t meet English and math standards for their grade levels, so, unsurprisingly, more than 80 percent of these students are unprepared for college-level work. Of the 18,912 students enrolled in English 101 classes in the fall semester, 9,040 (47.8%) failed.
Rodriguez based his order on what he claims are the requirements of a new state law, AB 705. However, the law does not require the wholesale elimination of remedial courses. To the contrary, it allows colleges to enroll students in remedial English or mathematics classes if they are “highly unlikely to succeed in transfer-level coursework” in those subjects.
“We will not concede to this destruction of our students’ learning,” said Darrell Eckersley, the Guild’s Chief Grievance Officer.