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Community College Faculty: Gut Online College To Pay For Online Training. (You Read That Right.)

Calbright College was established in 2018 as the state's first fully online community college.
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Community college faculty are calling on the system’s leader to dismantle California’s beleagured new online community college to pay for the shift to remote learning at traditional campuses.

The faculty leaders say the $120 million in state funds used to run Calbright College, the state’s first fully online community college, would be better spent training faculty to shift to web-based instruction.

“It has very few students compared to the 2.1 million students in the community college system,” said Joanne Waddell, president of the faculty guild for the nine Los Angeles community colleges.

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“It's not ready. It's not tooled up, it's not ready to go.”

By one count about 500 people are enrolled in Calbright classes.

California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley rejects Waddell’s idea outright. He said Calbright will help people hurt by the coronavirus crisis.

“They need every resource that we have available in the California community colleges to help them get the skills that they need to fill the jobs that are being created and will be created after we get out of this crisis,” he said.

Calbright was established in 2018 to offer certificate courses and job training that could help people advance in current jobs. The school started classes last October.

Its first president, Heather Hiles, resigned in January, less than a year into her four-year contract.

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In February state legislators voted to audit Calbright’s finances and study whether it’s needed.