Crashing Classes

The question, “How many classes are you crashing this time?” is a norm around any community college campus. Community colleges in California are suffering from budget cuts that affect classroom sizes, course counts, and the number of professors and other faculty. Prior to transferring to UCSB, I attended Pierce College in the Los Angeles area, and I recall that they have regular protests and walks pertaining to budget cuts, propositions, and voting. Getting the community involved is their goal, and sometimes it works.

However like any issues, it takes time to make a drastic change and mean while that happens students much like me suffer from course limitations and class overflows. I remember the walk and the petitions in favor of Proposition 30, which supported the regulation on budget cuts and taxed the rich. Fortunately, it passed. Still, even with this new proposition underway, many students still struggle to get into classes as well as find ways to pay for units and books.

I was one of the fortunate ones who made it out of community college in two years. I did work extra hard, with two jobs and the maximum amount of units every semester, but it was all for a purpose – a degree. All four semesters I attended Pierce College involved the crashing of two or more courses; it never failed. I remember my second semester, when my registration date was later than most, and I enrolled into a total of one course, a math course. I had to strategically crash classes, email professors, talk to counselors, and barter adds with some of my peers in order to get my fulltime units.

My question here is, why should any student work so hard for something that is expected of them by society? If we (students) are expected to get a degree or multiple degrees and pursue a career, why is it so difficult to get started in the necessary courses? I know of way too many people who have been in community college for years, and still do not get enrolled into the necessary courses to move on and transfer.

I think that we, as a community, need to become aware of this issue and strive to make a big difference. All students should have equal opportunity to get necessary courses in reasonably sized classrooms with greatly qualified professors. The budget has to be administered differently, I see proposition 30 as a step in the right direction. Students should not have to fight and struggle for the right to an education. Education is a right, not a privilege in this country. How about we start treating it like one?

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