Remedial courses are not in best interest of community college

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Remedial classes at community colleges are under scrutiny. Our campus is especially concerned about the cuts in any classes or programs. In community colleges, 42 percent of freshman enroll in at least one remedial course, according to the National Center for Education Statistics 2004 report.

The definition of “remedial” is intended as a remedy.

“Intended as a remedy” implies that something is wrong or broken thus in need of a fix. That is accurate in this case, though I don’t know if the classes themselves are what need fixing.

“Teaching basic skills in math and English is a key mission of the California Community Colleges,” said California Community College Chancellor Jack Scott in his cover letter for the Basic Skills Accountability Supplement to the Accountability Reporting for the Community Colleges report in March 2011.

More attention should be given to the high schools most students are coming from. If they prepared students for college, we wouldn’t have to offer so many remedial classes.

Nearly a quarter of Cosumnes River College’s students are not primarily English speakers and participate in the English as a Second Language remedial classes. Obviously our community needs these programs, but not here. There should be private or online classes not subsidized by tax payers’ dollars.

Money is what it really comes down to. It’s hard to believe the government can afford to keep the lights turned on, let alone finance education If they can’t afford to fund remedial or basic skills classes, they won’t be spending any money fixing the high schools. The general population of U.S. citizens don’t have private money to pay for ESL classes.

There could be a solution to everyone’s issues, which includes eliminating most remedial classes as they now exist, but doesn’t penalize those in need of remedial instruction. Better assessments to determine what exactly the students need, and developing a short, manageable learning or tutoring program that is faster than taking remedial semester long classes. The goal is to get students “up to par” on a faster time line. Students would be at the community college for a shorter period of time, attaining their degrees at the community college, then transferring to a university.

We need to strengthen knowledge and help them realize their potential.

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