Earlier this week in Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley said that he wants to close the “open-door” admissions policy at the City Colleges, which allows students to enroll in classes regardless of past academic performance. He says the system can’t afford to keep spending $30 million a year on remedial classes for students who aren’t prepared to handle college level work.
But for many students, remedial classes are their way into higher education, better jobs and more opportunities.
At the University of Texas at Austin on Monday, President Obama stressed the importance of increasing the college graduation rate, and called education the “economic issue of our time.”
“It’s an economic issue when the unemployment rate for folks who’ve never gone to college is almost double what it is for those who have gone to college," he said.
But not everyone who wants to go to college is prepared to take on college-level work, which is where remedial classes come in. But are they working? Or are colleges, as Mayor Daley is arguing, spending too much on remedial classes for kids who will never graduate?
We speak with Gail Mellow, the president of LaGuardia Community College in New York. She has a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to look at how to improve remedial, or developmental, education across the country.
Also with us is Edgar Romero, who started at LaGuardia Community College in 2007, taking remedial English and math courses. He went on to become the president of the international honor society for community colleges. Now, in just a few weeks, will start at City College, with a full tuition scholarship.