Archive for Sunday, November 16, 2008

Broken link

The need for remedial classes appears to be a significant burden for the state’s community colleges.

November 16, 2008


Eighteen community colleges may be more than Kansas needs, but in some parts of the state, they provide a vital link to the higher education system.

They also face some problems that state universities don't have and that the state's K-12 education system should try to address.

According to a report in the Garden City Telegram, leaders of three community colleges in Garden City, Dodge City and Seward County met last week to talk about how education could be improved by more collaboration, both among themselves and with K-12 schools and state universities.

First, let's applaud the fact that these three community colleges are having this conversation. The three schools serve much of the southwest quarter of the state, an area that doesn't include a state university. As the state budget tightens, the leaders of these schools see the need to better coordinate their services and eliminate duplication.

They also see the need to help students transition from high school graduation to university degrees. Community colleges should - and do - provide a vital link for students who are trying to reduce the cost of a university degree and for those who aren't academically prepared for university work.

Completing basic classes at a community college is significantly more convenient and less expensive for many students. However, the level of academic achievement some students bring to community college classes apparently is a significant problem.

A trustee of Garden City Community College referred to the "huge remediation burden" faced by the school. Data the school received last month, he said, showed that more than 58 percent of its students were placed in at least one developmental class because they lacked the skills to succeed in a regular community college class.

This alarming statistic suggests a couple of possibilities. Because this area of the state has experienced a large influx of Asian and Hispanic immigrants, much of the remedial work may be focused on boosting English skills. The other possibility is more disturbing, that is, that many students are graduating from Kansas high schools without being prepared even for community college work, let alone university classes.

The community college leaders said they were making an effort to communicate with area students as early as the eighth grade about college preparedness. Janie Perkins, a member of the Kansas Board of Regents from Garden City, also attended the meeting and indicated the regents also are working on the problem. Clearly, the Kansas State Board of Education also should be concerned and involved.

Community college leaders at the meeting said they weren't opposed to serving a remedial role, but providing those classes adds to the financial burden facing those schools and perhaps many other community colleges across the state.

Community colleges provide an important link to higher education but only if high school graduates are prepared to take advantage of that link. It appears something is amiss in the state's education chain.


SMe 9 years, 7 months ago

We don't teach children the basics anymore! It's more important they feel "good" about themselves than learn to add or subtract without the aid of a calculator.

admireed 9 years, 7 months ago

This is a problem at state 4 year colleges too. Would be informative to ask Pitt, Hays, Emporia how many students they have in "bonehead" classes...and at a higher cost to students and taxpayers

myopinion 9 years, 7 months ago

Only the upper percent of students in public schools are receiving an education: Those who are capable of teaching themselves the material. Teachers in public schools don't teach students anymore, they expect them to teach themselves, and it that doesn't work, then it falls to the parents, and if that doesn't work, then the parents are expected to hire a tutor. The rest of them fail and are made to feel like they are inadequate and stupid. Failure is an accepted concept in public schools, nevermind what that does to the students. Nevermind that their interests are being ignored and even destroyed.

Confrontation 9 years, 7 months ago

These pathetic K-12 teachers still want more money without having to prove they are doing a good job! No wonder so many people choose to home school.

Jason Bailey 9 years, 7 months ago

@Myopinion: When kids fail, the climate of public education is such that they are socially promoted. There is no accountability with the students, the teachers blame everything on a lack of funding (even though this scape goat never seems to be satiated regardless of how many bond issues are passed), and our society increasingly dumbs down the world to our kids (e.g., texting, LOL, ROTFL, BFF, blah blah)Kids are missing out on many of the important concepts that prepare them for an outstanding education. Some are excelling but they are the exception and certainly the credit is all theirs' not the public system since it rewards mediocrity.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 9 years, 7 months ago

"We don't hold union teachers accountable in our government schools and it shows."Really? What does that mean? How would you hold them accountable?And do you really think that cutting funding to public schools would actually lead to their improvement?

Kookamooka 9 years, 7 months ago

SMe, you must be 100 years old because students have been hammered with the basics for the last 8 years with no child left behind. I see students who lack the motivation to learn. Whether this is the result of society or family or both or if they are just depressed, I don't know. It's hard to teach students who block you. They will stare at you blankly and dare you to teach them. So what's the solution for helping those types of students? They aren't "buying" into education as a way of helping them achieve the "American dream."

Jennifer Forth 9 years, 7 months ago

Perhaps, but failure to attend college, even a community one, seems to be an impossible idea for many modern families. Not everyone is college material.

KSManimal 9 years, 7 months ago

Maybe the need for remediation isn't evidence of K-12 FAILURE, but rather SUCCESS - 30 years ago, we didn't have this remediation problem. But back then, only the top of the crop even considered post-secondary education. Now, the majority of high school graduates do.'What some see as a "failure" of K-12 education may just be a side effect of the fact that far more people are being successful enough, and inspired enough, to enroll in college in the first place.Ditto for all those claims that lower SAT/ACT/ETC scores show a decline in the effectiveness of public schools.

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