Good Enough is Not Good Enough

safety editorial featured imageFifteen California community colleges were initially approved Jan. 20 to begin offering bachelor’s degrees by the Community College Board of Governors.

None of the Los Rios colleges were accepted into the pilot programs.

That’s because the Los Rios Community College District did not apply for a pilot program.

Some of the programs that have been initially approved are in fields in which Los Rios colleges have certificates or degrees available.

For example, American River College offers an associate’s degree in funeral services. Cypress College received approval for an expanded mortuary science program. The programs are identical in core curriculum. If Los Rios had applied, perhaps ARC could be offering a bachelor’s degree in that discipline.

Antelope Valley College was approved for a four-year program in airframe manufacturing. City College has a strong and well-respected aeronautics program that would have lent itself very well to building a baccalaureate program.

The same goes for Crafton Hills, which is offering a program in Allied Health Systems. City College offers an associate’s degree in Allied Health. Two dental hygiene programs were approved for both Foothill and West Los Angeles colleges. City College offers an associate’s degree in dental hygiene, and potentially could have offered a bachelor’s if Los Rios had put the program forward for consideration.

Los Rios failed to adequately serve its students when it passed on the opportunity to be part of the state’s pilot four-year degree program.

By not even applying, the district sends a message that it does not care enough to go the extra mile for its students.

While Los Rios’ cautious approach toward the four-year programs is understandable, there was little to lose and much to gain by applying.

The act of throwing one’s hat into the proverbial ring is a risk. Getting turned down or passed over can be potentially embarrassing. But applying for a four-year program would have been a risk worth taking.

In October 2011, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg said, “The biggest risk is not taking any risk. In a world that changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.”

Even if the district’s proposal had been rejected, Los Rios could have said that it tried to serve its students in every way possible. And there is value in that.

An application would have meant that Los Rios was trying to do everything it could to bring the best opportunities to its students. Though the district does a lot — basic skills classes, certifications, and associate’s degrees — not going for something bigger tells its students that the current programs are good enough.

“Good enough” is not what students want out of their educational institutions.

“Good enough” is not why we come to learn skills to forward our careers.

“Good enough” is not why we juggle family obligations and prioritize classes.

“Good enough” is not why we work multiple jobs and try bit by bit to accumulate enough units for a degree.

“Good enough” is not why we come to college.

We come to college to make the most of ourselves. We come to college to explore new things, and expose ourselves to more of the world around us. We come to college to learn from great minds and to be challenged.

We come to college to gain more opportunities. And Los Rios’ decision not to seize an opportunity for its students is a disappointment.


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