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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Is it college or middle school?

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California State University schools will stop placing unprepared students in remedial courses, reports EdSource. Instead, they’ll have a chance to earn college credit in “co-requisite” courses, while learning basic skills.

“Giving college credit for classes that an advanced eighth-grader could complete” will debase the value of a Cal State degree, writes Ed Realist, a California high school teacher.

CSU is not ending its practice of accepting students who aren’t capable of college work. CSU has ended its practice of remediating students who aren’t capable of college work. It makes such students feel “unwelcome.” Students who aren’t capable of doing college work are getting the impression that they don’t really belong at college.

“High schools are under tremendous pressure to force all their students” into college-prep courses, writes ER. They aren’t allowed to teach remedial courses.

We can’t say hey, this kid can’t do pre-algebra, much less algebra, and at his current knowledge and interest levels, he can’t possibly succeed at the three or four years of math past algebra that high schools require for graduation. No, we have to  teach second-year algebra concepts to kids who aren’t entirely sure what 6×8 is because we know they’ll graduate before they end up in pre-calc.

Many high schools place at-risk students in college courses “to get the remediation their high schools aren’t allowed to give them,” writes ER, who believes “dual enrollment” courses are watered down.

State universities will accept unprepared students, “put them in middle school courses and call it college,” concludes ER.

. . .  public colleges like CSU and CUNY are what bright kids from less well-connected families, kids whose parents don’t have the social capital to get into the “right” schools, were once able to use to get ahead. These schools have already done themselves a lot of damage, making it harder and harder for anyone, no matter how qualified, to get through in less than six years because of the time, resources, and expense involved educating the near-illiterate . . .

CSU students who started in 2016 were the “best-prepared group in the system’s history,” according to a report prepared for trustees, reports the Press-Telegram.  Including those who took summer remedial courses, “62 percent of CSU students were ready for college-level English and math.”

CSU students are supposed to be in the top third of the state’s graduating class.

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