In the world of remedial education, Shine Adams, a Kansas University student, is the exception rather than the rule.
Adams, 38, dropped out of high school, worked for several years and then decided he needed to get his diploma and then a college degree.
Adams got his GED, then, using remedial courses, passed several math classes to satisfy his math requirement and is now working on a degree in social work.
He said he couldn’t have gotten where he is without remedial courses.
But for most students, the remedial courses, sometimes referred to as developmental education, aren’t working.
“We need to do things differently,” said Susan Fish, state director of adult education at the Kansas Board of Regents.
In Kansas, 42 percent of first-time students in two-year colleges and 16 percent in public, four-year colleges enroll in at least one remedial course.
Most students who enroll in remedial courses do not graduate.
State officials say the statistics are cause for alarm as they try to increase the number of people with degrees to meet workforce demands.
“We are spending billions of dollars in our K-12 system and these kids ought to be able to meet these standards. We need to be more honest with ourselves,” said Kansas Board of Regents Chairman Kenny Wilk.
A new report recommends some targeted funding increases and program changes.
The Developmental Education report was put together over the past year by regents staff and leaders at community colleges, four-year colleges and technical colleges.