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Public schools are failing kids and taxpayers


An article published this week in the Washington Times notes the lackluster performance of America's schools with an astonishing figure -- 75% of of high school graduates aren't prepared for college and will likely need to take at least one remedial class before enrolling in regular college courses.

The latest annual survey from the non-profit testing organization ACT delivers the sobering numbers:

Only 25 percent cleared all of ACT’s college preparedness benchmarks, while 75 percent likely will spend part of their freshman year brushing up on high-school-level course work. The 2011 class is best prepared for college-level English courses, with 73 percent clearing the bar in that subject. Students are most likely to need remedial classes in science and math, the report says.

The gap between high school graduation and college enrollment poses all sorts of problems. College professors are forced to spend precious classroom time on material their students should've already learned from high school teachers.  Students who feel they're either not prepared for college or just repeating high school are also much more likely to drop out of college.

If you're thinking this issue doesn't affect you because you don't have any kids in college these days, think again.

Bob Wise, former West Virginia governor and president of the Alliance for Excellent Education, explains:

In the 2007-08 academic year, the alliance estimates, remedial courses cost about $5.6 billion — $3.6 billion in “direct educational costs” such as taxpayer contributions to state universities and another $2 billion in lost wages, a result of giving up on higher education and missing out on the bigger paychecks that tend to come with college degrees.

“There simply has not been alignment or coordination between the K-12 system and the higher education system about what students need to know,” Mr. Wise said Tuesday.

“What we know about remedial courses is the student and the taxpayer are paying twice. You’re paying a lot of money to get back” to the academic level students should be at on the day they graduate from high school.

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