RCC’s budget cuts affect lower math classes

The surge of continuous decisions to cut and reduce classes are taking place at Riverside City College. The latest area to be affected are the basic skill math courses.

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By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief, Ashley Anderson / News Editor

Practice (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Javier Cabrera / Editor in Chief, Ashley Anderson / News Editor

The surge of continuous decisions to cut and reduce classes are taking place at Riverside City College. The latest area to be affected are the basic skill math courses.
As the college seeks to fill the gap to eliminate $2.68 million from its budget, the lower level math courses are being cut.
 Classes to be cut are Math 63 and 90A, 90B and 90C, these are the arithmetic courses that consist of being the lower level courses in math at RCC.
According to data provided from the RCC Math Department, 26 percent of RCC students who take the assessment test for Math place into Math 63.
“My concern is that I don’t know where (the students are) going to go,” said Rogelio Ruiz, the chair of the RCC Math Department.
As reported in previous articles by Viewpoints, Cynthia Azari, president of RCC, said students will have access at adult school if remedial classes are not available at RCC.
“Just as we are cutting, (adult schools are) cutting, so we’re not sure if (adult schools) have something for (RCC students),” Marc Sanchez, an associate professor of math, said.
Geoft Pronovost, a tutor in the math lab at RCC, said he feels terrible about having students enroll into adult school to take their basic skill math classes.
“A lot of the students here already have a lot of struggles whether that be family issues, financial issues, combination of the two or previous learning disabilities,” he said. “Most of the students, who test into those classes, already have difficulty or have not received the proper education before college.”
Pronovost said he describes the idea to send students to adult school as a slap in the face.
“(The college is) saying, ‘Hey you made it this far, (but) sorry. We’re not going to give you the help that you need;’ You have to go through these other means,'” he said. “That’s not going to make the (students) feel very comfortable. If anything, it will discourage them.”
Briana Zabala, an RCC student, was one math student to start at one of the basic skill math classes, but she managed to make her way into Math 11, which she is taking this semester.
She said she feels the idea of having students go to adult school is unfair and inconvenient to them.
“(RCC) already offers the classes and (the classes) help (the students) a lot, so taking (the classes) away is kind of like pulling the rug from underneath them,” Zabala said.
Math 65 and 90F are the other math courses being reduced as the college looks to increase transferable math classes such as Math 11 and Math 12.
Roughly 374 units have been cut from the Math Department since the summer session of 2009, and the cuts continue through this semester. The 374 units range between 90 to 125 math courses being cut in almost three years.
Although the college is slashing away the basic skill math classes to meet its reduced budget, Sanchez said there are still other remedial classes the department is holding on to.
“We still have a place for (students),” Sanchez said. “We still have Math 65 but we are not increasing (the course).”
The Math Department worries that students enrolling at RCC will be placed in remedial math classes.
“My concern is that some (students) will place low in math but place high in English, so they can come here for English but not math,” Ruiz said.
Zabala said high school students will be impacted by cuts to the basic math courses because she was a high school student who entered RCC seeking the basic skill math classes.
“A lot of kids coming out of high school aren’t prepared,” she said. “Eliminating the lowest math would be really bad for anyone trying to transfer because the majority of students aren’t going to make it into the higher math classes right away.”
Pronovost said the result to cut the basic skill math classes will change the dynamic of how students approach their college level math and science classes, because the basic skill math courses accommodate the college courses.
“It’s really unfortunate because that’s the foundation to mathematics, and also how that translates into the science courses here,” he said.
Pronovost said he recognizes the need for cuts to meet the reduced budget, but at the same time the basic skill math classes are necessary.
“It’s not really fair to be able to provide adequate tutelage to students who may need it particularly in the basic math classes,” he said.
Ruiz said RCC needs to provide more student services and  tutorial services for the incoming students.

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