What's worse is that California's community colleges are some of the best in the land, and what you learn there absolutely should count in the big leagues. Well now it does.
A new law will make the junior schools create a clear pathway for university credit (without added courses) that will guarantee those who transfer to California State University campuses junior status.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger this week signed the bill, SB 1440, by Los Angeles state Sen. Alex Padilla.
The senator claims the law will actually save the state money -- $160 million a year -- because it won't have to subsidize the extra time students were spending in class to make up for credits lost to transfers.
Students will be able to get on the transfer track starting in fall of 2011, says Bill Mabie, Padilla's chief of staff.
Padilla, who was the first person from Pacoima to attend MIT, wanted California's kids to have half a chance at graduating from college.
As it stands, 73 percent of the Golden State's college students attend the junior schools. Only about 23 percent of them make the leap to four-year campuses; only 16 percent of Latinos make it to the big leagues.
"He's one of these people when he was younger who was from a town where that's a pretty big leap to go to a four-year university," Mabie tells the Weekly, "and he wanted to make sure more people could do that."
In a year when the legislators have taken three months and counting to pass a budget, Mabie wants to emphasize that sometimes the lawmakers in Sacrament get things done.
"This is an example of the legislature functioning," he said. "There s been effort to achieve this for 30 years. They got it done."
Why aren't University of California schools included in the transfer deal? They're working on it, Mabie said.
Let's just hope it doesn't take another 30 years.