13th Grade
10:22 pm
Thu December 20, 2012

Talk To Us: What We Should Know About Remedial Education At Florida's Colleges

The series on remedial education at Florida’s colleges by NPR’s StateImpact Florida and the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting has prompted lots of conversations: Why are so many high school graduates needing remediation in college?  Should a high school diploma be a certificate of college readiness -- perhaps only for some students.

Wendy Pedroso did well in math classes -- until her first algebra course. Twice as many students at Florida colleges took a remedial math course than took a remedial writing or reading course.
Wendy Pedroso did well in math classes -- until her first algebra course. Twice as many students at Florida colleges took a remedial math course than took a remedial writing or reading course.
Credit fcir.org

We chatted online with StateImpact’s Sarah Gonzalez and FCIR’s Mc Nelly Torres along with a social media audience of students, educators and people interested in education policy.

Who are the students in the remedial classes?  As Sarah and Mc Nelly documented in their reporting, even recent high school graduates who had As and Bs found themselves in remedial education classes. 

How are students who are unable to do the “basics” getting into college?  This was a question raised by members of the Public Insight Network and came up in the online chat as well.

How are students graduating from high school without the basics?  Most in the online chat expressed the strong belief that high school students should not be promoted to the next grade if they have not achieved the skills for their grade level.  But others, particularly those who were educators, called attention to factors other than academics that contributed to students graduating: pressure from administrators and “screaming” parents. 

How much is the FCAT to blame?  Many students and teachers cite FCAT and the emphasis on testing as a major factor in the low high school achievement. 

But one former educator said the problem lies elsewhere. 

What should a high school diploma mean?  Barbra, a teacher at Broward College and a member of the Public Insight Network, said her students called high school a “holding ground,” a sentiment echoed by some online participants. 

As for the broader question of what the goal for high school should be, many felt it was a combination of being ready for college and to work. 

Thanks again to all our participants for the thoughtful discussion.  You can read the full conversation below.  These online chats will become a regular feature of our newsroom.  Let us know what news events or topics you’d like to discuss by tweeting us @WLRN.