11.5.11

PAYING FOR HIGH SCHOOL TWICE.  Is $5.6 billion a year a reasonable price to pay for second chances?
“Remediation is paying for the same education twice,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “It is a wasteful use of public and private dollars and an unrealistic solution to closing the preparation gap between high school and college. Doing it right the first time by delivering a high-quality high school education improves the chances of long-term success for students and for communities.”

“Saving Now and Saving Later: How High School Reform Can Reduce the Nation’s Wasted Remediation Dollars” finds that about one out of every three students entering postsecondary education will have to take at least one remedial course. In 2008, reports show that 44 percent of students under the age of twenty-five had been enrolled in one or more remedial courses at public two-year institutions and 27 percent at public four-year institutions. The brief points out that while remediation is a problem for all students, students of color are disproportionally affected.

Saving Now and Saving Later finds that students shoulder a significant portion of the financial burden for the nation’s remediation problem. On average, students pay 42 percent of total postsecondary costs at public four-year colleges and 14 percent at two-year colleges. Because remedial courses often do not contribute credits towards a degree, students lose money and time that could have been spent on credit-bearing courses.

“The very concept is a direct admission that many high schools are not adequately preparing these students,” said Wise. “At a time when states are searching for deficit cutting tools and businesses are requiring a well-educated workforce, the nation must work together to align secondary school standards to postsecondary demands so every student can graduate from high school ready to succeed in college or careers. The potential cost-savings of eliminating the need for remediation are too great to ignore.”
Once upon a time, high schools did that work as a matter of course.

Joanne Jacobs extends, with observations from a disenchanted toiler in the retention pond.
X wonders how to grade “a college student who progresses from a 6th- to a 10th-grade level of achievement?” He gives F’s.

At best, X’s students will earn low-prestige, low-value degrees. At worst, they’ll be discouraged, degree-less, debt-ridden, uneducated and unemployable.
More discouraged, for having the hope of something they're not yet up to dangled in front of them, then yanked away?

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