Friday, October 21, 2016
Jeremy Story's pro-Student, pro-Taxpayer, agenda for Austin Community College...
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour."
1 Peter 5:8
[Author's Note: We didn't record the specific sources Jeremy cited for his factual claims in our notes. That being said, they all came from various governmental entities. That being said, you can contact the campaign for more specific information here.]
We finally had an opportunity to hear Jeremy Story speak last night. He's running for the Austin Community College board of trustees, place 9. He's running to promote better student outcomes and greater fiscal accountability for taxpayers.
ACC ranks near the bottom of community college systems in Texas in terms of positive student outcomes. Positive outcomes are defined as completion of an associates degree, transferring to a four year college, or obtaining a trade certification. We were astonished to learn that only 4% of ACC students transfer to a four year school.
Story wants to focus on core functions of students success. He wants to increase the number of academic advisers to shepherd students through the bureaucracy, especially the first 15 hours. Currently, there are 700 students for every adviser, so it shouldn't surprise us that there's a high dropout rate. He also wants to increase the number of dual credit courses in local high schools. He wants to streamline the online registration process, which we've heard described as a "nightmare" from various quarters over the years. Finally, he wants to increase the focus on certification for skilled trades. These are all things a community college should, by definition, be doing.
On the pro-taxpayer side, Jeremy Story is the only candidate running for any ACC trustee position who supports a moratorium on tax hikes. Considering the gigantic tax hike ACC passed last month, this is important. Considering that ACC recently ran a $9 million surplus, there's plenty of money available as long as the organization focuses on core responsibilities.
As an example of core responsibilities, he discussed a recent proposal to expand CapMetro service to the various campuses. Whatever the merits of such an idea it is, at best, a long term solution. To paraphrase Story: "It may or may not make sense to make it easier for a student in Austin to attend a class in Round Rock, but in the meantime why don't we make it possible for that same student to take that course online from their living room?!?"
Also, he's a YCTer from the UT chapter; to put it mildly, that speaks well of him.
Bottom Line: Anyone who gives the Austin Chronicle a conniption fit is off to a good start, but it was good to flesh out specifics.