Who’s ready for remedial ed?

Sixty percent of new community college students aren’t ready for college-level work. Community colleges spend $2 billion a year teaching basic skills, yet fewer than 25 percent of remedial students earn a degree within eight years. While some community colleges try to help high schools prepare students for college and improve remedial programs on campus, others wonder if only students “within striking distance” of college work should be admitted.

Also on Community College SpotlightImproving the Latino college completion rate.

About Joanne


  1. Shouldn’t the “remedy” here be to fix the broken K-12 process rather than to gate who is and who isn’t allowed to take remedial courses?

  2. No. It’s rarely K-12’s fault that students can’t read or write. Besides, not everyone should go to college. We need another educational system for students who can’t read or write after high school.

  3. But it is K-12’s fault — that is there basic mission, right? To teach the three Rs?
    So…charge the cost back to them, bring back voc-tech in the high schools vs SLAs and stop offering any and all remedial education in any form of college…

    Kids need to get off their butts and understand K-12 education is important. Hold parents accountable, too. If kids don’t pay attention they will have trouble ahead…stop the welfare state! We cannot afford it any longer…

  4. To teach the three Rs? that is there basic mission, right?

    Wrong. The “basic mission” is that kids will learn algebra by eighth grade and take college prep math in high school. That’s not “rithmetic”.

    If we were allowed the four years of high school to teach arithmetic to kids who enter high school not knowing fractions or negative numbers, we’d have a higher success rate. But no, we’re supposed to teach them advanced math. So we not only don’t teach them arithmetic, but waste their time and ours trying to teach them something they can’t learn.

  5. Cal, you’re describing a failure of K-8.  That’s certainly included in failures of K-12.

  6. No, I’m not. Who says that everyone can learn arithmetic by 8th grade? What proof do we have that it can be done?

  7. > What proof do we have that it can be done?

    Uh, all of history up until 1985?

  8. No. It’s rarely K-12?s fault that students can’t read or write

    Seriously? 13 years isn’t long enough to teach basic reading? We’re not talking Critique of Pure Reason here.

    Low IQ should not be an obstacle to mastering foundation reading skills. At the primary level, IQ and reading achievement are not closely correlated. A person with mild to moderate mental retardation (politically incorrect term) can realistically achieve a 6th grade greading level or better by the end of high school; why should most students not be able to do far better than that?