The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Three strikes and you’re out

Starting this summer any student who receives a D, F or NP (no pass) or has withdrawn from a course three times will not be able to take the class again. Photo Illustration

It’s your second semester at City College, and you are up against a Spanish class that you withdrew from twice already. Education is on third base, waiting for a base hit for the go-ahead score for victory. One more swing against Spanish is all you’re allotted. And now it’s crunch time.

Starting this summer, a new policy goes into effect in the Los Rios district: Any student who receives a D, F or NP (no pass) or has withdrawn from a course three times will not be able to take the class again.

For example, if a City College student fails Statistics 300 three times, he or she will not be able to take the class again at American River College or any other sister community college within the Los Rios District. The student would need to take the class in another community college district. This not only applies to the Los Rios district but to all other community college districts in California as well.

This may seem like a harsh measure and a very abrupt change, but there is general support for the change. This change was recommended during the 2010-11 school year by the Board of Governors. The intent of this policy change is to cut down on failing students, according to City College Supervisor of Admissions Kim Goff. This rule change will help students, who are looking to transfer to four-year universities, by putting them on the right path of being responsible.

One problem I have with the new policy is the number of times one has to pass a class. Three “strikes” seems pretty harsh, especially since English, math and science classes are required for people to both graduate and transfer to further their educations. Some people have a harder time grasping certain subjects, and it is unfortunate to make students jump through even more hoops just to further their educations.

As a student who transferred from a different community college, I was worried at first that this new policy might not allow me to take the required math classes I need. Statistics, and math in general, has been difficult for me, and I have tried and failed (or withdrawn) four times.

However, according to City College counselor Aracely Ruiz, bad grades don’t follow you to other community colleges, unless you move to a sister college in the same district. So because I took math classes at Solano College, I am able to retake statistics at City College, though I will have to take the assessment test to get into the course. Assessments also do not follow you to other colleges.

“The school can only check within the Los Rios school district, so transfer students won’t be affected,” says Goff. “Taxpayers pay a lot of money for students who don’t pass classes.”

As unfortunate as this reality is, something had to be done.
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I also wondered how the new policy might affect the way professors present material to students. Would they be a little less strict because of the new rule change?

Business law professor Brian Bedford said, “I will not change how I teach. The standards are still the same, and I won’t sugarcoat how I teach because it will leave our students unprepared. We use the same books here that they do at UC Berkeley. My job is to get them ready for transferring.”

However, Bedford added, “My fear is that this action may have a disproportionate impact on students. What if a professor has a final that is 75 percent of the final grade, and the student cannot make it because his child is sick? What’s more important? Taking care of your child or getting to class?

“What if everyone calls out on the job and you are the last one on to be called?” Bedford said. “Are you going to risk losing your job over going to class? This rule puts students in a predicament with having to choose studies over their livelihood.”

If circumstances arise and get in the way of people trying to get an education, it would be very unfortunate for students to quit school because of the new policy. With no way to appeal grades, this policy could lead to many problems.

Though there are some questionable aspects about the rule, it also has a huge upside. The fact that it will make us students more responsible and push us to reach out and actively get help is tremendous. I like that we are being held accountable, because it is our educations.

I wondered if students should just drop a class early in the semester so they don’t risk taking a W in an unexpectedly difficult course. Goff said, “No. Though everyone’s case may be different, it is important to reach out to your professors and counselors first. You never know what kind of help they can give you.”

We are all adults at this college and should be treated as such. We should not wait until the very last minute to ask for help, because at that point it may be too late. The rule change helps to guide students to using college resources instead of quitting early, or losing hope and failing.

So when you are taking your last swing at a class, step back from the plate and re-evaluate your course of action. It’s far better to be prepared for the upcoming course fastball than to just sit in a class and hope for a nice change-up to hit.

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