Please honor the Honors Program

Deborah Hedley is a former Butte College student now studying in Prague.
Children in our society are often rewarded for doing well in school with incentives parents believe will help to motivate them. Candy and money aside, what if parents were to reward their successful children with additional schoolwork in lieu of more “fun” items? Not many kids would want their reward.

There is a group of kids, however, college kids, who perform well in school and are then given challenging work as a bonus. They actually like it.

The Honors Program at Butte College is a place where local community college students with higher-than-average GPAs can get an extra push and shove from their professors as they complete work more challenging than traditional general-education classes. This program has already been cut back, and rumor has it that the adviser to the program may lose his salary for supervising the program. Not all advisers and aides in programs at Butte receive stipends for their services, but that doesn’t excuse yet another cut to Honors. It is slowly being phased out and may soon cease to exist.

While this is all chalked up to budget cuts, there are some programs whose budgets are not being threatened equally. Butte College offers a wide array of remedial reading and math courses for students struggling in school. I believe that those courses are an important part of the community college structure, but not to fund both ends of the academic spectrum equally could hurt students as well as the school.

In my entire college career, a handful of classes have challenged me to be analytical instead of just regurgitating information. Two of those classes were through the Honors Program. In the same way that gaining better reading skills can help struggling students for the rest of their schooling, the instruction from the Honors Program will continue to influence my education for years to come.

If the Honors Program disappears, we all should question what kind of society we live in that will give programs to students performing poorly, yet can’t scrounge up enough change to challenge the students bored by the monotony of regular classes. I am not trying to be snide or overly simple. I don’t understand the way this works. It just doesn’t make sense that Butte College would continually withdraw funding from the academic programs on campus. I don’t know many parents who would hesitate to provide challenging work to their children who are bored in school, so why would Butte College?