Guest speaker discusses Early Start program

Camille Anglo

CSU Los Angeles psychology professor Dr. Kimberly King visited Sacramento State on Monday for the Mandatory Early Start Program Access and Equity Conference in a three-panel discussion about the Early Start Program.

King said she wants the event to enlighten students on how the policy will affect incoming college students.

“I felt I could raise consciousness among students,” King said. “There are changes happening to the CSU system and these changes are resulting in keeping out certain students or pushing out certain students then to also give a little bit of hope that you could organize and stop these programs.”

Sac State criminal justice professor and Statewide Assistant Vice President for Affirmative Action for the California Faculty Association Dr. Cecil Canton said he wants to highlight that professors were not consulted when the policy was adopted.

“What we want to do is we want to talk about the intent and impact of the policy that the CSUs have basically imposed upon the campuses,” Canton said. “There was no real shared governance discussion.”

King shared the panel with the director of Sac State’s College Assistant Migrant Program Viridiana Diaz, Research Administrator Coordinator Adrienne Thompson and Jeraniqua Martin, a Sac State senior communication student and McNair Scholar.

The Mandatory Early Start Program, a policy adopted in March 2010, will require students who need remedial help before entering college to join a program helping them get to college-level math and English. The program will begin this summer.

King said the policy requires students to start preparing for college sooner and is concerned students will choose to not go to a CSU because of these extra requirements.

“My worst fear is that fully-eligible Cal State students, meaning they met the full criteria 3.0 GPA and A through G requirements fulfilled, that these students will not go to college because of this program,” King said. “That’s my biggest fear.”

Diaz, who helps mostly first generation migrant and seasonal farm worker students, said 98 percent of her students need remediation and are qualified for different programs, but are excluded from the Mandatory Early Start Program.

“Luckily, all of my students are eligible for other programs such as the educational opportunity programs,” Diaz said. “They have an opportunity to attend summer bridge. As a result they can remediate early on through summer bridge so they’re exempt from the Early Start requirement, but I mean it does impact students because that means that they really do need to plan to begin college a semester early.”

The current remedial program, which integrates remedial classes with general education classes, is working and the Mandatory Early Program is not necessary King said.

“We already have an 83 percent success rate, so I don’t really think it’s this horribly dire situation that needs to have a whole new program created with a whole new bureaucracy and new cost associated with it,” King said. “It’s not that big of a problem. An 83 percent success rate is pretty good.”

 Camille Anglo can be reached at [email protected].