Blame High School

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Why don’t students graduate from college? Only about 54 percent of people who enter college graduate within six years. While many studies indicate that the price of college has a lot do with the low graduation rate, some, at least in Pennsylvania, seem to think that high school has a lot to do with the problem. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:

Perhaps the biggest problem is that many students graduate from high school without the academic skills they need to succeed in college.

According to the state Department of Education, one in three recent high school graduates who attend Pennsylvania’s public universities and community colleges takes at least one remedial course to catch up with their peers in math, reading or English.

“What we’re finding is a lot of students are dropping out of college because they weren’t prepared,” said department spokeswoman Leah Harris.

Of course, ultimately it doesn’t really matter if low academic skills are the fault of high schools. Open admission colleges take and educate everyone who comes in their doors. Remedial courses have long been a staple of community colleges across the nation, though merely taking a course actually reduces the likelihood that a student will graduate. College students don’t earn academic credit for remedial courses. Remedial education is part of what colleges do; it’s just the least rewarding part.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer