The great remedial pushdown

State universities are pushing remedial classes to community colleges, and some community colleges are pushing low-level remediation to adult ed programs, I write in U.S. News.

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  1. I’m all for this trend. Remedial classes at colleges and CCs have enabled the k-12 system to abdicate its responsibility for basic education. I’d take it even further; no classes below real HS coursework at CCs and I’m not really in favor of that, except for adults that have been out of HS for years.

    • If we stop remedial classes in the K-12 world, there won’t be a need for them in the college world. All remedial reading does is create non-readers. Stick a basal reader under a kid’s nose or show her a computer-generated reading selection, or have her listen to a book on tape, with constant interruptions by a “reading coach,” and you’ll turn the kid away from reading faster than you can say, “remediation.”

      Conversely, if you help students become voracious independent readers, starting in kindergarten and continuing through high school, everything changes. This isn’t rocket science. Across the board, the best students and the smartest people are readers.

      If I were a district curriculum director, I’d have every elementary, middle school and high school English teacher read Donalyn Miller’s The Book Whisperer and Nancie Atwell’s The Reading Zone. Adopt their philosophies and methods, and let the books do the rest. Test scores will increase exponentially and remedial classes will disappear.

      • momof4, my reply wasn’t really intended for you. I replied in the wrong spot.

        • Let’s go back to explicit instruction in phonics, grammar, spelling, arithmetic and the other subjects. In early grades, read to the kids; both classic fiction and all kinds of non-fiction. First of all; demand appropriate behavior; teaching and learning can’t take place with constant disruption.

      • Michael E. Lopez says:

        If you were a district curriculum director, and I were an English teacher you were forcing to read that over-earnest, saccharine crap, I’d remind you how much you once hated faddish administrators making you read things you didn’t need to read, and suggest that maybe you not let a little authority go to your head.

        I’m not saying it’s not a useful reading philosophy — students need to be reading because they want to, not because they’re being beaten with the grade stick or threatened with a life of economic destitution.

        But let us do try not to become the monsters we fight, please?

  2. As I’ve said before, students needing remedial education need to be in adult education programs or academic tutoring. They have no business being admitted to a 4 year college or university program.