In high school, Latasha Gandy was an academic star. She had a GPA of 4.2 and graduated second in her class from St. Paul Public Schools’ now-defunct Arlington High School.
But when Gandy went to enroll in college, she got a rude surprise. She needed to retake classes she’d aced in high school. She needed a costly year and a half of English and more than a year of math — for no credit.
“I remember feeling when I made it there like, ‘How can this happen?’ ” says Gandy. “I had all these thoughts about did I belong here? And everything I was hearing from my community about black people didn’t go to college.”
Not only would Gandy have to pay for the remedial, or “developmental,” classes, she wouldn’t get any credit. So there’d be no chance she could graduate in four years — especially problematic since she has two daughters to support.
Gandy eventually made it through, earning an associate’s degree as a paralegal at Inver Hills Community College and a B.A. in legal studies at Metropolitan State University. But at tremendous expense.