Eagle Forum Legislative Alerts

Thursday, March 24, 2016

The Travesty of Remedial Education

As a way of improving accountability for public high schools, the State of Illinois recently began reporting how many students need remediation in community college. The results are shocking. Nearly half – 49% – of Illinois high school graduates who enter community college first need remedial courses in order to be able to handle entry-level college work. In other words, our high schools are letting half of their college-bound students down, by not providing them with the education they need.

This is no fun for the students, as they do not receive college credit for remedial courses. They are even stigmatized by them. And guess who pays a big part of the bill – the taxpayers. In 2012, the annual cost of remedial courses at college was estimated to be about $7 billion.

The field in which students are most deficient is mathematics. 41% of high school students in Illinois who go on to community college cannot solve basic math problems. The percentage would be even higher if it included all the high school graduates who decline to attend college. High school is not teaching students enough math skills to be able to run a business.

Even worse, remediation rarely works. Fewer than 10% of the students placed in remediation in two-year community colleges are able to graduate within three years, and barely a third of the remedial students earn a bachelor’s degree in six years. Many do not even show up for the remedial classes, which are embarrassing to them.

The real fault is not the students, of course, but a public school system that fails to teach the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic. Instead, politically motivated fads like Common Core try to indoctrinate our children without teaching them to be able to think, read and write, add and subtract.

Listen to the radio commentary here:

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