Encourage exploration, promote enrichment

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Streamline the enrollment process without creating restrictions for students.

During convocation week, Chancellor Bruce Leslie highlighted an initiative that he hopes will bring new students to the Alamo Colleges. 

By working with willing local high schools, Leslie wants to recruit new students at earlier ages and ensure they will be able to come into the Alamo Colleges with an idea of where they want to transfer in the next four years.

If Leslie has his way, hopeful new students will know where they want to transfer and how to get there before they set foot in one of the Alamo Colleges.

While this is a sound idea in theory, it doesn’t take an advantage of this district into account.

The district is made up of five, largely independent, institutions that offer a great deal of variety among them. Not only that, but for many students, this district is the cheapest quality education in San Antonio. 

The opportunities to learn about a subject that isn’t tied to one’s graduation plan are seemingly boundless. 

But for these opportunities to exist, students must know they’re there. Students need to know their value. 

Leslie’s plan would push younger, more impressionable students, into fields that would be deemed both secure and important to the future of these institutions and this area.

It’s possible that this initiative would encourage administration to focus on the vocational programs offered by the district, which could have a negative impact on academic and other courses that aren’t required for these programs. 

And while the notion of promoting the needs of San Antonio is noble at face value, how will this impact programs that promote students to move out of this area? 

How will it impact students who don’t want to stay in this area?

From what we know, there are no plans to drop courses, but as the board continues to push a pro-local agenda, it’s hard to imagine every program currently available will remain as is. 

These students are taxpayers. They are no less deserving of this district’s time and resources. 

The Pathways program plans to get students through math and English courses in their first academic semester. If the bulk of incoming students are being pushed into math and English courses, the district will have to compensate for that.

Making these colleges specialize in specific programs is a mistake. The appeal of community college is choice.

Let students take courses they don’t need, let them experience something new. Don’t make them wonder if they’re wasting their time on a predetermined Pathway. 

These aren’t pointless deviations, they’re worth the student’s time.


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