Texas Ed: Comments on Education from Texas

November 20, 2006

Alternatives to Texas 4 by 4

Here’s a guess at what Texas’ 4 by 4 will lead to.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 11/20/2006 | Educator works to reduce need for remedial courses

Joe Bagnoli graduated from Ashland Holy Family High School with a 3.7 grade-point average and with A’s in four years of college preparatory math courses — algebra I and II, geometry and trigonometry.So it didn’t add up when he took a placement exam as a Berea College freshman in 1984 and learned that he wasn’t quite prepared for college math. It took one hard week of work in a remedial math course for Bagnoli to get caught up.

Now, almost 22 years later, he is Berea’s associate provost for enrollment management and proof that Kentucky’s multimillion-dollar remedial education problem isn’t limited to slow learners.

It looks like Kentucky is facing the same problem.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 11/20/2006 | Educator works to reduce need for remedial courses

Currently, 53 percent of entering students at the state’s public universities and community and technical colleges need at least one remedial course, according to a recent report from the state Council on Postsecondary Education. The report also showed that 44 percent are not ready for college math, 32 percent are not prepared for college English and 25 percent do not have college-level reading skill.Overcoming these deficiencies costs $25 million a year, $11 million in state money and $14 million in student tuition for courses that are non-credit.

So is Kentucky mandating four years of science and four years of science as a solution like Texas? Nope.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 11/20/2006 | Educator works to reduce need for remedial courses

To try to better prepare students, the General Assembly passed legislation last winter that will require 11th-graders to take the ACT at state expense to diagnose remedial education needs while students are still in high school, as well as increase the number of students who go on to college.

Gosh, imagine that. They are going to attempt to diagnosis the problem before solving it. Furthermore, the state is actually going to pay for what it is mandating.

Lexington Herald-Leader | 11/20/2006 | Educator works to reduce need for remedial courses

Kentucky’s development education task force will make its proposals on Dec. 5. Some of those may require legislation in the 2007 General Assembly.Cain said some of her suggestions would most likely include:

• More communication throughout the K-12 and postsecondary systems so “there are clear expectations, very specific expectations” of the skills and content students must master to move to the next level, so that the “elementary schools know what the middle schools expect, the middle schools know what the junior high schools expect, the junior highs know what the high schools expect and the high schools know what the colleges and universities expect.”

• More instruction in college schools of education so that future teachers can more readily identify students with remedial needs and know better how to work with them.

• Making sure that the best teachers are teaching developmental education in college, and reduce what has become a heavy reliance on part-time and adjunct faculty.

Well, the problem with this solution is obvious to a Texas legislator. It’s too iffy, too touchy-feely, not enough commanding involved. Besides, with a name like 4 by 4, you know it’s just got be a good solution–for Texas.

1 Comment »

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