Assemblyman Scott Wilk
A controversial bill introduced by Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, that could dramatically alter the education landscape is on the shelf for now, but likely to resurface next year, Wilk said Wednesday.
The bill, as it was initially introduced, would have called for a third statewide university system.
This new system acknowledges the value of an education that can be gleaned from years of working in a field, as opposed to the traditional one gained from classroom toil.
“The concept is, education is education no matter where you get it from,” Wilk said. “The idea is that the state would offer a test to show competency. If you know the material and you take the test, if you can prove that you’ve mastered the material, you’d get the credit.”
According to the text of the bill:
“The New University of California shall provide no instruction, and the mission of the university shall be limited to issuing college credit and baccalaureate and associate degrees to any person capable of passing the examinations administered by the university.”
Wilk pulled the bill, citing that he thought it would be best suited for a pilot run only in the fields of math and computer science, where a subject competency is easier to gauge.
“You either know that stuff or you don’t,” Wilk said. “It’s really supposed to be a very targeted bill,” Wilk said. “It was a caucus idea,” he said, adding that it wasn’t his idea, per se, but he introduced it because he was a proponent of the idea.
It would also be a less expensive pilot if conducted in those select areas, which are also high demand areas.
He said part of the impetus for his views came from experiences he had when he took a few classes in pursuit of a master’s degree in public administration at California State University Northridge, he said.
“I loved the concept and I’m more than willing to push it, but it needs to be done strategically and correctly,” he added. “It’s really supposed to be a very targeted bill.”
While noting that the education establishment has not favored this bill, it makes sense particularly in areas where there may be a degree shortage, such as math and computer sciences.
“Everybody learns every day,” he said. “And you don’t necessarily need to be in the classroom to get competency in a particular area.”