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CSU, the easy way to boost graduation rates is the wrong way

To the editor: There are easy ways to attain the California State University system's stated goal of more graduates: increase pass rates in classes, reduce breadth requirements for a degree and make more classes available online. ("Cal State chancellor sets goals for improved graduation rates," Jan. 27)

Then there is the right way, which promotes what the real goal of the CSU system should be: to produce more and better-educated graduates. This can be done by reducing class size, preparing students for college more effectively in high school and upgrading facilities.

The easy ways have the added benefit of reducing costs. The right way costs money in the short term, but in the long run it is the more beneficial option.

Let me hazard a guess: We're going to hear a lot of arguments by politicians and college administrators in favor of easy ways to produce more graduates.

James D. Stein, Redondo Beach

The writer is a lecturer in the mathematics department at Cal State Long Beach.

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To the editor: A few facts are mentioned but not stressed in this article:

CSU is the largest university system in the United States. CSU leaders' pay is substantially below peers' pay elsewhere. The CSU provides millions of graduates who enrich the U.S. economy.

CSU graduation rates have been lagging because so many students are economically disadvantaged and are first-in-the-family college students. There is no question, though, that lack of sufficient resources and numbers of courses needed for a degree are a drag on graduation rates. The university system deserves praise for what it has done and is doing to improve student success.

CSU is well known for providing a quality education with more outstanding hands-on experiences than many of the big-name institutions elsewhere. The university system goes after big money to supplement state funds, like the $22-million grant just awarded to Cal State Northridge that will improve student success.

CSU is an awakening giant in U.S. higher education. Bravo to CSU.

Steven B. Oppenheimer, Northridge

The writer is a professor of biology at Cal State Northridge.

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