English 225/226 not to be offered at Dos Pueblos in 2013-2014
December 11, 2012
By Michael Aling | Staff Writer
December 11, 2012
In a decision that was baffling to Dos Pueblos teachers, Santa Barbara City College’s English Department has cancelled the dual enrollment sessions of English 225/226 on the Dos Pueblos campus starting in the 2013-2014 school year.
English 110/111 and English 225/226 offered students an alternative to AP/IB classes, and a chance to enter college with some mandatory courses out of the way. Earning credit from these courses, students were able to enter college with sophomore standings, or better.
According to the Dos Pueblos English department, there was no clear reason to recall English 225/226, and neither the teachers nor the administration were given any explanation. Margaret Mason, who teaches the English 225/226 class, is fully qualified for the position, and the students enrolled met all prerequisites. SBCC declined to consider the students’ portfolios or any of their work completed as a part of the class.
Barbara Bell, chair of the SBCC English department, identified a “miscommunication” between the college’s English and Dual Enrollment departments as the cause of the problem. Her predecessor did not consult the full faculty on the matter, a fact that was only realized recently.
When the entire faculty had the opportunity to weigh in on the matter, “[We] decided not to offer any of our 200-level courses via the high schools,” said Bell. “Our decision seems to be in alignment with other SBCC departments that offer 100-level courses [as we do] but not sophomore-level courses within the high school Dual Enrollment format.”
But why did SBCC recall the course in the first place? Speculation among the English department holds that SBCC believed the students are simply too immature, even though they made this decision without considering students’ work.
Bell held that the English department is “just not comfortable offering a sophomore-level college course in the high schools.”
However, Diane Hollems, SBCC Dean of Dual Enrollment, added that “we welcome your students to take the course on our campus.”
English 225/226 “offered students a quality product that was rigorous, stimulating, and relevant,” said Ms. Mason. “It’s a fabulous class.”
As a consequence of the action taken by SBCC, a path highly recommended by counselors is broken: those wishing to take 110/111 sophomore or junior year will no longer have the next step readily available to them. They must either drive to SBCC and take the class there, or enroll in an AP/IB course, and forego the college credits that 225/226 offered.
“English 110/111 students can take AP Literature without risk of redundancy,” said Ms. Mason, also acknowledging the “rich” reading requirements of both IB English and the AP class.
English 225/226 provided an individualized learning experience for the students, something that, as class sizes continue to increase, is hard to come by.
“[Students] trace the ethos of the American character from pre-colonial times to the present, examining our cultural mythology and national identity through literature, from a wide range of political, social and historical perspectives. The reading requirement is rich and deep…the thematic thread of cultural identity, seen through the prism of time, makes the course special.”
When asked about class offerings for next year, Ms. Mason responded that they were still “up in the air;” Dos Pueblos is “looking into other possibilities, but nothing is certain at this point.”
Should students still look to take English 110/111?
“I do not believe taking a [college] freshman composition course in high school is a waste of time in any case, but I regret we cannot – at this point – offer the next step on our campus.”
“My life has been enriched by this class,” Ms. Mason said. “We’re all sorry to see it go.”