The Other College Crisis

Career College Central summary:

  • In public education, a traffic jam is clearly situated between high school and higher education. For all we’ve heard lately about debt-trouble college graduates, there’s another (and perhaps more serious) college crisis that also deserves attention: Between 28% to 40% of students are unprepared when they go to college, and as a result, are placed into developmental, or remedial, courses (at community colleges, this is closer to 50%). And of the 4.3 million freshmen who entered college in 2004, it’s likely that as many as 3 million, well more than half, failed to earn some post-secondary credential. Countless more fail to make the transition into higher education at all.
  • This misalignment between high school and higher education has clearly racked up a lot of casualties. In the early 2000’s, a group of education leaders set out to smooth out the pathway. The resulting Common Core State Standards Initiative led to the creation of common education standards in English and mathematics, upgrading the vast majority of disjointed K-12 state standards with those that, in those CCSS leaders’ words, are “relevant to the real world, reflecting the knowledge and skills that our young people need for success in college.”
  • The implementation of these standards is well under way, and sophisticated new assessments are currently being designed and piloted to gauge student progress on their pathway to college readiness. Higher education leaders have begun to enter the fray around Common Core (which has since become a weapon in the echo chamber wars) to emerge in favor of these standards and assessments, as well as the work of their K-12 colleagues—but they are neglecting to think through the repairs needed on their side of the bridge.

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