The Californian

Off-campus classes give students an advantage

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There has been a push by the district to encourage high school students to take more classes off campus.

The shift toward having more off-campus classes is a key part of the district’s “10 point plan” proposed by Superintendent Rick Schmitt this school year. 

The plan, among other things, originally proposed to limit the number of classes each student can take up to six. After much protest, this particular proposal was moved back so that it doesn’t directly affect current high schoolers. But it may be implemented in the near future, potentially starting with the Class of 2022. 

As the college admissions process becomes increasingly selective, students feel more and more pressured to gain an advantage or keep up with their competitive peers by taking classes at local community colleges even though many of these courses are easily available at their high school. 

Students might take advanced math or science classes beyond those at their school, or sign up for extracurricular courses aligned with their specific interests, such as art or engineering.

Problems arise when high school students, who have the lowest priority compared to college students, attempt to sign up for certain classes at DVC. Many of the classes fill up before high school students have the chance to register. Notably, it’s not uncommon for high school students to even make it on the wait-list. 

This leaves students with two options: try and sign up for classes at colleges farther away than the San Ramon DVC campus, or not take any extra classes and decrease their chance to compete with their classmates.

Traveling to community college campuses that are farther away is often difficult for students who cannot drive themselves, and just not taking these classes puts students at a disadvantage. 

Additionally, these college courses can be expensive when factoring in tuition, course materials, and the commute. The average community college cost per credit is more than $100, which is a significant financial burden to certain families. 

The Californian believes the district’s encouragement of off-campus classes goes against the principle of public education – that all people are entitled to a proper education, regardless of income or background. 

Encouraging classes outside of public high school that aren’t affordable or easily available creates a system where opportunities may be denied to the underprivileged. 

As a public school district, we must address the needs of all students to ensure everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Off-campus classes give students an advantage