Commentary on College Remediation Rates

Carol Burris:

College remediation rates are used to justify the need for the Common Core. For diehard reformers, the lack of “rigorous standards” is res ipsa loquitur –the culpability is such that one can disregard the other possible contributing factors that result in student remediation.

The argument is both political and simplistic. It is political because time and again the facts about college remediation are distorted or framed to cause maximum alarm. It is simplistic because it fails to acknowledge the complexity of the problem, seeing college remediation solely as a function of inadequate high school preparation.

Let’s begin with how reformers distort the facts. Here is one example. According to Boston Globe columnist Scot Lehigh, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said the following in Massachusetts earlier this year: