School daze

Published 9:37 am Wednesday, July 29, 2009

By Staff
So, the N.C. General Assembly is thinking about cutting most of the funding for programs that allow high-school students to attend community colleges and earn college credits for successfully completing college courses.
It sounds like someone should send state legislators back to school.
The programs, as they exist now, allow high-school students to take certain courses — technical training and college-transfer classes — without having to pay tuition. Under a proposal in the state House of Representatives, high-school students would not be able to enroll in general-education courses — except for math and science general education courses — through the Huskins Bill and dual-enrollment programs now offered at community colleges.
It’s unclear if the funding for the dual-enrollment courses will be cut. A continuing impasse involving the state budget and the looming start of another academic year provides a dilemma for community colleges like Beaufort County Community College. They don’t know what’s going to happen to the funding for such programs. They don’t know what to do with high-school students signed up and ready to attend college-level courses.
More than 250 students in Beaufort County public, private and home schools have enrolled in BCCC classes that could be affected by the General Assembly’s decision, when and if it comes.
Wesley Beddard, dean of instruction at BCCC, sums up the situation like this: “This uncertainty makes if very difficult for the college and the students enrolled in these courses to adequately plan for the coming academic year. The proposed budget cuts and elimination of funding for some college courses may require a large number of high school students to change their plans at the last minute.”
Whatever the final decision, the General Assembly needs to make it quickly so the affected students — and the state’s community colleges — may plan accordingly.
Making cuts to help balance the state budget is one thing, but funding for programs that educate the state’s next generation of leaders should not be among those cuts.
That’s a lesson legislators, apparently, have not learned. They fail when it comes to common sense.