Education Realist’s policy proposals start with banning remediation at the college level.
My cutoff would be second-year algebra and a lexile score of 1000 (that’s about tenth grade, yes?) for college, but we could argue about it. Everyone who can’t manage that standard after twelve years of K-12 school can go to trade school or to adult education . . .
The community college system could be split into a tier for college-level work and another for adult education, Ed Realist proposes. Money spent on remediating college students could beef up adult education, which has “withered and nearly died.”
(Some states already separate “community colleges,” which offer academic classes, from “technical colleges,” which do only job training. The tech colleges have much higher success rates.
Instead of placing all students in college-prep classes, high schools should offer remedial classes to those who need them, proposes Ed Realist.
In 1997, Chicago Public Schools wanted all freshmen to take algebra, so all remedial and pre-algebra classes were dumped. . . . A decade ago, Madison, Wisconsin did the same thing. California effectively banned pre-algebra in high school by docking test scores of students who weren’t taking algebra in 8th grade (drop one score category) or, god forbid, 9th grade (drop two score categories).
City after city, state by state, schools took away the “easy” math options: business math, consumer math, general math. At the same time math credits required for graduation became more difficult.
In English, history and science, high school students with elementary reading skills are in the same classes as those reading at the college level, writes ER.
Since I work in a Title I school, the high-ability students I see losing out on more rigor and challenges are also poor students, often Hispanic or black. Teachers can’t adequately challenge strong students while also encouraging weaker students.
. . . To avoid blame, schools and teachers run roughshod over rigor by lowering standards. (Feel free to blame me on this count; I refuse to hold my students to standards they didn’t choose when it’s a choice between failing or graduating.)
Students shouldn’t have to go to college to be taught arithmetic, basic math literacy, pre-algebra and general-purpose reading and composition, ER writes.