Assemblyman Bill Maze (R-Visalia) introduced legislation today aimed at bringing higher education to students in the Valley who cannot afford to travel to Bakersfield or Fresno State for classes. This important legislation, AB 1932, will establish an advisory board of key higher education personnel who will make recommendations to the legislature on how to implement a baccalaureate pilot program at College of the Sequoias and Porterville College.
Assemblyman Maze has made the goal of bringing a baccalaureate program to Tulare County a cornerstone of his term in office. The following data provided by the California Post-Secondary Education Commission demonstrates a clear need for higher education opportunities in Tulare County:
While previous efforts to cite a campus have been unsuccessful, Maze believes that this effort has tremendous promise. Community colleges in several other states have implemented similar programs like the one at St. Petersburg College in Florida. These programs are successful and students are finding a viable alternative to the traditional, and more expensive, four-year college.
"We absolutely have to do something to give Tulare County residents local and immediate access to higher education. While distance learning, such as what Fresno State offers at College of the Sequoias, is feasible for some students, not all students can grasp and process information by watching a TV screen. Some students process lessons better in a classroom environment with the teacher providing instruction in person," Maze said.
Maze continued "I have been fighting to bring these baccalaureate classes to Tulare County for many years, and I will continue to fight for it until we get the classes, not until someone tells me 'no.' In these tight fiscal times, I am not going to ask taxpayers to foot the bill for a whole new campus. This is really about thinking outside the box - it’s about finding a way to meet the needs of students using existing campuses."
The bill will most likely be referred to the Assembly Higher Education Committee sometime in the next few weeks.
Assemblyman Bill Maze represents Tulare, Kern, Inyo and San Bernardino Counties.