Whose fault is this?
Joanne Jacobs has a post today on colleges having to place students into remedial classes.
Christina Jeronomo was an “A” student in high school English classes; she thought she was prepared for college. But she had to take remedial English at Long Beach Community College, delaying her goal of transferring to a four-year college where she can earn a psychology degree. From AP:
. . . a new study calculates, one-third of American college students have to enroll in remedial classes. The bill to colleges and taxpayers for trying to bring them up to speed on material they were supposed to learn in high school comes to between $2.3 billion and $2.9 billion annually.
This makes American schools sound terrible, and I have to admit that it bothers me when I hear that a teacher in a subject as important as English gives A's to kids who haven't learned very much. But there are two very simple solutions for colleges who are constantly whining about having to provide remedial classes for some of their students:
1. Don't let those students in.
2. Let them take the regular classes, and if they don't make it, fail them.
Now, I know colleges aren't going to do that, but it would go a long way toward solving the problem. They would also be doing high school teachers across the nation a huge favor. As long as students don't have to learn very much in high school in order to get into college, there are going to be a lot of high school students who don't learn very much.
Americans, including American students, are very practical people. They generally have an idea what it is they have to do to get what is important to them, and they have an amazing capacity to get that done. On the other hand, especially when it comes to high school classes, if you can't make it clear how the learning in a class will matter to them in the very near future, many of them will make very little effort to learn.
Any high school teacher can think of kids who seemed useless as students in high school, but then found something that they really wanted to do in life and ended up graduating from college in order to do it. Kids who seemed like they could never be good students became good students as soon as becoming a good student really mattered to them.
Unless there is something more to this story, it is scandalous that this girl could get an A in an English, and that teacher should have a lot of explaining to do. Nevertheless, the ending of Joanne's post left me wanting to scream:
High school was too easy, Jeronimo says. She wishes she’d been told to work harder.
She wishes she'd BEEN TOLD to work harder? Puh-lease!