College only for college-ready students?

On Community College Spotlight:  Chicago’s mayor wants to end remedial classes at Chicago’s community colleges. That would be a very bold move.

Also: An instructor asks if community colleges are a good choice for working-class students.

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  1. This is a very BAD move. I definitely think remediation should be eliminated at 4 year colleges, but certainly not at the community college level. Ideally, students would have mastered high school material in high school, and there are definitely problems with public high schools… but even in a situation in which you have OUTSTANDING public schools, there will always be some cohort of students who don’t take their studies seriously at the time. Perhaps they go into a trade, or the military… but many years later, wiser and more mature, want to continue their education. Community college should be the place for them to get remediation.

  2. Jab,
    sounds like you’re endorsing a community high school, not a community college.

  3. Jab is right. Chris, it sounds like you’re saying a bad high school should doom people forever.

  4. There will always be some cohort of students who don’t take their studies seriously at the time.

    There’s a difference between “don’t take school seriously” and “can’t perform at college level”. The former will be able to go on to community college when they straighten up. The latter–whether they worked or not–should go to an institution called something other than college.

  5. tim-10-ber says:

    If I am right, Tennessee’s state universities will no longer provide remedial classes beginning the fall of 2011. Whether or not they will contract with Jr. Colleges to provide the classes on campus or not it is too soon to tell…truthfully I hope kids needing remedial education cannot enroll until those classes are completed. As it is now the kids cannot take college math or college level science without out completing the math class(es). English…not sure about…

    If the K-12 schools have to keep the kids and truly educate them I hope this will force major changes in how government schools educate kids (as well as the private and parocial schools that graduate kids needing remedial classes).

    This could be the catalyst to truly upgrade government education…I say go for it…

  6. I can’t get excited about any reforms at college level when the real problem is in K-12 education, with the main focus around perhaps grades 3-8.

  7. tim-10-ber says:

    Bart — great point about focusing on improving 3 -8 education. I would expand it to K-8 to be sure…kids have to know how to read and comprehend by third grade…that foundation is started in kindergarten…


  8. Foobarista says:

    Where would “college-unready” students go?

    Also, one massive “social good” that community colleges provide is entry to higher education for adult immigrants. Since many of these immigrants don’t speak English well and don’t have up-to-date math skills, they often end up taking lower-level courses in CC. I don’t know the situation in Chicago, but in CA, at least half of CC students are immigrants, often adult (>30) immigrants.

    One of the things that “works” in the US versus Europe is the ability of immigrants to go to college as relatively older students. We need to keep this door open.

  9. Mike,
    Far from it – it’s a great pathway to success – especially as Foobarista points out for immigrants and those moving from regions/state with poor schooling.

    It’s just not college, it’s an adult high school – which may be a core mission for the community colleges. In California, many (most?) high schools districts have adult education classes which I really think could be merged into the community college system and be far more effective.

    At the same time, I’m strongly in favor of eliminating the bad high schools which create doomed diplomas where the graduates need the remedial courses. Those are high school saddling their graduates with high school debt.

  10. tim-10-ber says:

    The high school graduates needing remedial classes would go to the adult high schools…

  11. At the time I grew up, remediation and classes for new immigrants were done in the night high school programs and I would like to see it return there. All kids going through k-12 here should be explicity taught the knowledge, skills and behaviors necessary for school and life success. No tolerance for bad behaviors and no advancement without mastery of grade-level work. Drop mandatory attendence to 14 or completion of 8th grade. Make a high school diploma a meaningful document.

  12. How about cutting the expense of educating illiterate non-English speakers by some radical reform like… not admitting illiterate non-English speakers, and deporting the ones who sneak in?

    Shocking idea, I know.  Even Swift’s “modest” proposal wasn’t so extreme.

  13. The problem with channeling students who need remdiation into community colleges is that then college-ready students who can’t afford anyplace else are stuck with not-so-ready classmates (which makes class incredibly dull) and that the CC spends more time and money on remedial classes.
    My son did a couple of years at LA area CCs–there’s no way he could get all the classes to transfer to a UC in 2 years. Just not offered in a timely way.

    Maybe Junior College was the right idea. Or a year of post-high school But otherwise, you get kids who can go to an Ivy League or equivalent school in one batch and everyone else lumped together.


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