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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

For the unprepared, college is a ripoff

Colleges are ripping off poorly prepared students, charges Walter Williams, a George Mason economics professor, in the Daily Signal.

Earlier this month, the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, aka the nation’s “report card,” was released. It’s not a pretty story.

“Only 37 percent of 12th-graders tested proficient or better in reading, and only 25 percent did so in math,” on the 2017 National Assessment of Educational Progress, Williams points out. “Among black students, only 17 percent tested proficient or better in reading, and just 7 percent reached at least a proficient level in math.”

Yet most of these not-very-proficient students will collect a high school diploma and enroll in college, writes Williams. Their odds of success are low.

Colleges cope with ill-prepared students in several ways. They provide remedial courses. One study suggests that more than two-thirds of community college students take at least one remedial course, as do 40 percent of four-year college students. College professors dumb down their courses so that ill-prepared students can get passing grades.

“Colleges also set up majors with little analytical demands,” such as “ethnic studies, cultural studies, gender studies, and American studies,” writes Williams. “The major for the most ill-prepared students, sadly enough, is education. When students’ SAT scores are ranked by intended major, education majors place 26th on a list of 38.” (Many students with low SATs never complete a bachelor’s degree.)

Only 39 percent of students in the class of ’17 who took the ACT are ready to succeed in college estimates ACT’s The Condition of College & Career Readiness 2017 report. That includes 9 percent of disadvantaged students and 54 percent of students with college-educated, middle-income, white or Asian-American parents.

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