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Film Synopsis: Releasing The Trap begins by traveling back 40 years into California’s educational history to tell the tale of how the state’s education system--once the envy of the nation--slid to the bottom in most educational indicators.

The movie then turns to California's community colleges to outline how over the decades a whole web of pre-transfer (now called basic skills) courses were created across the system. These pre-transfer courses created unintended consequences, including contributing to drop out rates and lengthening time-to-transfer for many community college students. The movie looks at the institutional inertia around pre-transfer curriculum that often results in “ossification” and “accretion” of courses, making it more difficult for educators to create change.

The movie concludes by outlining some of the features of the educational initiative called Acceleration In Context. AIC is gaining widespread traction around the state of California as a promising response to these challenges in Basic Skills education.

By demystifying the choices community college institutions have made over the years, Releasing The Trap hopes to offer encouragement to faculty and administrators to design curriculum and pedagogy with an eye towards “the ever arriving future.”

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