College & Workforce Readiness

The Push Toward College: Some Interesting Messages

By Catherine Gewertz — February 11, 2010 1 min read

We’ve had so much snow here in Washington that we’re all on snowverload. (Some are calling it snowverkill, but I like my own word, “snowverload,” better. I welcome the grammarians to bring it on.)

So perhaps it’s all the white stuff getting to me. But I see an odd connection in three stories of interest today to all you curriculum wonks.

One the one hand, we hear that huge portions of students in Colorado need remediation to keep their heads above water in college. (The fact that kids need remediation isn’t news, of course. But just check out the proportions here.) On the other hand, we read that the big push to involve more students in AP can have mixed results (according to one analysis, more kids take it, but failure rates also rise). We also read that a movement to get all students to take Algebra I by 8th grade can produce some unfortunate side effects.

One obvious interpretation of this cluster of information: The college remediation rates make a better-than-ever case for schoolwork that pushes kids to higher levels (AP and Algebra 1 by 8th grade). Another? We are pushing awfully hard, but are we pushing the right things in the right ways?

Tell me my mind has strayed off in a snowdrift and I’m obviously misguided. Tell me I might have a point (right or wrong). Tell me something! Jump in here.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Curriculum Matters blog.