Too many students unprepared for college

Alan Borsuk:

About a dozen years ago, Willie Jude, a longtime Milwaukee Public Schools administrator who was principal of Custer High School at the time, told me that many Custer grads who went on to higher education (and there weren’t that many) realized quickly they were way behind many other students when it came to academic preparation.

That’s because those other kids were learning the B and C parts of the book when you were learning the A part, Jude said he told them.

In other words, a lot of freshmen hit college with a high school diploma that says they are more likely to succeed than students with other diplomas. The difference breaks strongly along lines of income and race.

This is so unsurprising, but still hugely important and sad. Many efforts to even things up by raising the success rates of those in the lower end of this spectrum have yielded little progress.

A report issued Sept. 20 by University of Wisconsin System administrators provides new ways of looking at this. In 2015, the Legislature approved a proposal by Rep. John Jagler (R-Watertown) that requires UW to identify Wisconsin high schools each year with more than six graduates required to take remedial classes in English and math when they entered any UW System program.