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New California Law Furthers Remedial Education Reform

October 3, 2022

California governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Friday a bill to further reform remedial education at California community colleges.

The new law, Assembly Bill 1705, bolsters a 2017 law, which prevented community colleges from using placement tests to assign students to remedial courses and required them to put students in classes that earn credit unless students are determined “highly unlikely to succeed” in those courses.

Assembly Bill 1705 clarifies that colleges are required to enroll students in math and English courses in which they’re most likely to progress toward completing their degrees and transfer requirements. The law also prevents colleges from requiring students to repeat math and English classes they passed in high school and stresses that colleges are responsible for providing supports to help students succeed in credit-bearing coursework, among other measures.

This year’s state budget also includes $64 million to support community colleges in implementing these changes. The funds can go toward expenses such as expanded tutoring services and training to help faculty members teach a broader range of students in their credit-bearing courses.

“Students tell us loud and clear what we already know from the research: the remedial courses touted as additional support actually make it harder for community college students to achieve their educational dreams," Christopher J. Nellum, executive director of the Education Trust–West, said in a press release. “Governor Newsom's signing of AB 1705 into law is a meaningful step toward centering transfer-level courses and equity-based strategies that students swear by.”

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Sara Weissman

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