California’s $500 million investment in Golden State Pathways (GSP) promises to dramatically increase college and career opportunities for students. Through GSP, students would graduate from high school prepared for both college and career, equipped with at least 12 units of college credit and skills required to succeed in today’s economy.
The goal is ambitious, but it is attainable and timely. GSP complements the college completion goals that the governor and the postsecondary systems set forth in last year’s Compacts and Roadmap. It builds on key K–12 and college policy reforms already at work on student success, including dual enrollment, Guided Pathways and the California Career Pathways Trust. On the K-12 side, GSP would provide the resources that high schools and districts need to play their role in building aligned pathways. And community colleges will be ready to partner with them, bolstered by the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office led by Chancellor Sonya Christian, who has called for a “ninth grade strategy” to expand equitable dual enrollment and bring its benefits to high school students starting in ninth grade.
Yet the California state Legislature recently proposed an 80 percent budget cut to the program that would severely reduce access to rigorous, college-preparatory coursework and career-connected learning opportunities for our most marginalized students. As we navigate this critical moment, Anne Stanton, President and CEO of the Linked Learning Alliance, Dr. Christopher J. Nellum, Executive Director of The Education Trust—West, and Linda Collins, Founder and Executive Director of Career Ladders Project, write in EdSource that the Legislature’s efforts to balance the budget should not come at the expense of the Golden State Pathways program, our students, and our future.