CSU Trustees Move Forward with Quantitative Reasoning Requirement, Add Independent Analysis

After months of discussion and dissection, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to move forward on a plan to require a fourth year of quantitative reasoning for admission.

The revised plan delays a final vote until 2022 and includes a third-party, independent analysis to study the impacts on students, specifically those whose high schools don’t offer enough math, science or computer science courses.  Adding an analysis may have been in response to the introduction of Assembly Bill 1930, which would require more transparency and independent study of CSU policy changes.

As they have done for months, education leaders – including CFA members – spoke at the Board’s January 29 meeting in opposition to the fourth year requirement.

“As faculty, as academics, we are empirically driven creatures. We are in favor of study, we’re in favor of data, we’re in favor of sound analysis and we applaud the move to delay this implementation as we called for over the last several meetings,” said Kevin Wehr, who teaches sociology at Sacramento State and is CFA Vice President.  “However, unless and until that analysis proves that there will be no disparate impact by race, by class or by rurality, we will remain opposed to this proposal.”

Students also protested outside the meeting, urging Trustees to meet the CSU mission of increasing access to higher education.

“… High schools are currently not equipped to handle this proposed requirement. This will severely impact students of color who already attend underfunded schools with overworked teachers,” said Nathan Carbajal, a student at CSU Long Beach and member of Students for Quality Education (pictured).

As Trustees prepared to vote, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond gave an impassioned speech about educational equality.

“I can’t give you all the causal reasons for the (achievement) gap. There’s no question that decisions about money and race and racism have contributed to the gap that our students experience in this state and in this country,” he said.  “…We have challenges that are systemic and need to be addressed and we have to be bold, but go into this with eyes wide open. And let’s not fool ourselves, that just by doing this we will close the gap. It’s the right thing to do. We set the bar high and then we give the students the resources they need to get that done.”

The quantitative reasoning decision capped a full Board meeting the day before, when CFA and CSU management exchanged sunshine proposals in advance of bargaining. Also, CFA members urged Trustees not to increase student fees or tuition and to partner with us in advocating for more funding for the CSU in the 2020-21 state budget.