College and Career Access Pathways increases District enrollment, but teachers see flaws

District looks to expand on dual enrollment as teachers union expresses concern programs could overlook quality

New programs that allow high school students to take college-level courses and get a head start are increasingly becoming popular across the country, however, some college professors are concerned about aspects of this program.

In 2015, then-Gov. Jerry Brown signed Assembly Bill 288 to create opportunities for high school students to earn community college credits while taking classes at their campus.

The College Career Access Pathways (CCAP) program aims to create closer ties between local high school districts to two-year colleges and boost enrollment. Total dual enrollment will likely increase after the board voted on April 26 to expand the program.

“Speaking only for myself, and not the entire board, I believe there is strong support for dual enrollment throughout our community,” said John Pimentel, the District Board of Trustees Vice President. “The program brings the many benefits of community college to more students and families and makes post-secondary education more accessible and relevant to our community. ”

“I believe every teacher in our system is committed to making college more affordable and to helping students, especially first-generation college students and those from traditionally underserved communities, more welcomed into our SMCCCD family,” added Trustee Pimentel.

District professors see the potential for this program but also believe it could serve to undercut community college staff, already embroiled in a frustrating contract negotiation with the District since 2021.

“The faculty union is not against dual enrollment opportunities”, AFT 1493 union president Monica Malamud said. “We know that our district has been offering courses at high schools for several years, but there are issues that have become evident and need to be resolved through negotiations before the district continues to aggressively increase dual enrollment through more CCAP agreements.”

“These issues impact both the high school students that take college courses as well as the faculty who teach them.  The district seems to be focused only on increasing enrollment. But AFT believes that CCAP implementation issues need to be addressed immediately so that high school students can really benefit from the college experience and be successful,” Malamud added.

The union wants its contract language to guarantee college courses taught on high school campuses are taught by qualified college professors, as the bill itself stated.

The bill amended the Education Code Section 76004 to state that,

(i) The CCAP partnership agreement shall certify that any community college instructor teaching a course at the partnering high school campus has not displaced or resulted in the termination of an existing high school teacher teaching the same course on that high school campus.
(j) The CCAP partnership agreement shall certify that a qualified high school teacher teaching a course offered for college credit at a high school campus has not displaced or resulted in the termination of an existing community college faculty member teaching the same course at the partnering community college campus.

There is also an issue of dual enrollment not being as inclusive or targeting underserved communities as it was planned to be, one AFT member said in an article. For example, in 2021-22 at Cañada College, 21.2% of dual enrollment students were Hispanic, compared with 41.8% of regular students being Hispanic. 2.6% of regularly enrolled students are African-American but 1% are in the dual enrollment program.

It should be noted that CCAP has been more equitable in enrollment when compared to other dual enrollment programs according to information obtained by The Skyline View.

“I’ve asked the District to establish a task force that includes the unions, academic senate, school officials from the community colleges and the high schools, parents, and of course students, to discuss AFTs concerns, and other issues and to make recommendations about how to set up our dual enrollment programs so they can be best that they can be,” said Trustee Pimentel. “I look forward to the outcomes of that process and hope the AFT will participate constructively in the dialogue to raise their concerns and to offer productive solutions for improving the program for all stakeholders.”