Lexington: Fix adult ESL

Adult classes in English aren’t helping immigrants (and some native-born English Language Learners) very much, concludes a Lexington Institute report. It’s believed only 40 percent of adult ESL improve their proficiency level.

While most adult ESL is taught at community colleges and school district adult education programs, Lexington advocates more flexible approaches being developed by community organizations, adult charter schools and employers.

For example, Los Angeles-based PUENTE Learning Center uses blended learning to individualize instruction and track student progress toward proficiency. The result is consistently lower drop-out rates and proficiency improvements than the national average. In one year (2005), fully 85% of learners advanced in proficiency compared to the national average of 40%.

Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School in Washington, DC is another example of a community-based program achieving strong results.

In addition, federal, state and local policymakers should gather “rigorous and useful data” and reward programs that accelerate language learning, Lexington recommends.

I’d bet more immigrants are going online to improve their English fluency. USA Learns, which is funded by the U.S. and California Education Departments, is free.

Ready or not, students get college aid

Pell Grant recipients, who come from lower-income families, often start college in remedial classes and drop out before earning a degree. Requiring evidence of college readiness, such as SAT scores of at least 850 (verbal and math) and a 2.5 grade point average in high school, would boost success rates, but limit access.

California leads the nation in poorly educated adults and in low-income workers, not a coincidence. Should community colleges take over adult education? 

CC remediation rate hits 80% in NYC

The remediation rate was nearly 80 percent for graduates of New York City public high schools who enrolled in community college last year.

California may shift control of adult education from K-12 districts to community colleges. 


CC instructors tie bonuses to performance

Part-time adult education instructors at City Colleges of Chicago have agreed to link bonuses to student achievement. That just doesn’t happen at the college level.

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.

More schooling doesn’t always mean more $

A college degree is the “gateway to the middle class,” but more education doesn’t always mean more money.

Also on Community College Spotlight: Redesigning adult ed to combine basic skills with job training.

‘We can’t do everything’

We can’t do everything, writes the chancellor of Pima Community College. In the future, low-level remedial students will be referred to adult education.

Also on Community College Spotlight: To help low-income students succeed in college, listen to students.

Community college or adult ed?

Some 60 percent of new community college students aren’t ready for college-level classes. Those placed in basic math or reading rarely make it out of the remedial sequence, much less to a degree. Do they belong in college?

Rethinking remediation

Overwhelmed with students who need years of remediation, some Texas community colleges are sending very low-skilled students to adult education or vocational programs.

Also on Community College Spotlight:  North Carolina will let community colleges bar “threatening” students, but identifying who’s dangerous and figuring out what to about it are huge challenges for college staffers.

From adult ed to ???

On Community College Spotlight:  Michigan tries to link adult education to community college job training classes. But the odds of success are long for adults who start in adult ed or GED programs.