Students Must Be Ready for College and Careers

Students who enter college requiring remediation increase their time to degree.  According to data from the Community College Chancellor’s Office, approximately 74 percent of students entering community college are unprepared for college‑level courses in English, mathematics, or both. However, each community college district’s ability to successfully transition these students to college‑level courses varies greatly.  Statewide, only 43 percent of students needing remedial English and 31 percent needing remedial math successfully complete a college‑level course in these disciplines within six years. See Figure HED‑05 for a sample of colleges.  ~~from Governor Brown’s Budget Request (below)  Isn’t this what Common Core was supposed to address?


Parents, taxpayers, legislators, teachers, administrators, state education chiefs, state agencies, local school districts were informed in 2013 that Common Core Math Standards were a minimal definition for college readiness.  He agreed that it would not prepare students for STEM or selective colleges:



There have been numerous attempts to backpedal from Zimba’s statement but he was speaking the the truth about the math standards: they won’t prepare students for highly selective colleges.  California has discovered that not only will it not prepare students for those colleges, it isn’t preparing students for state college, and now wants funding to add Alegebra II back to the curriculum.  From Gov. Brown proposes competition to create new high school math course:


Tucked inside Gov. Jerry Brown’s projected 2016-17 budget is a proposal for an unusual state-funded competition to address a long-standing challenge facing high school seniors: getting them better prepared for college-level math.

Brown is proposing spending $3 million for a competition to develop a year-long math course that is closely aligned with the California State University’s expectations for incoming freshmen, and will help students avoid having to take remedial classes when they get there.


Isn’t this what Zimba told us would happen?

Neal Finkelstein, a senior research scientist at WestEd, a research and policy organization in San Francisco, said the lack of an equivalent 12th-grade college preparatory math class is “an ongoing concern that a lot of us in the math community have.”

Such a course was also a focus of a meeting with K-12 representatives and all three systems of public higher education convened last fall by LearningWorks, an Oakland-based organization dedicated to improving student success. A soon-to-be released set of recommendations based on the meeting and written by policy analyst Pamela Burdman, states that “all high school students should have the opportunity to take the courses they need to be prepared for college-level work at any of California’s higher education institutions.” This should include students “who need to strengthen their quantitative reasoning skills in order to be considered college-ready.”

The additional high school course would mesh with the Common Core State Standards, which envisage a three-year sequence of math courses but also strongly recommend a fourth year, without specifying what that fourth-year course should be.

CSU faces a persistent challenge of having to provide developmental classes for incoming freshmen. In the most recent CSU freshman class, for example, 25,000 students, or almost half of the incoming class, were required to start their math or English remedial work during the summer before they enrolled through CSU’s Early Start program.

…In particular, the new math course could help students master Algebra 2. WestEd’s Finkelstein noted that Algebra 2 is a hard, discouraging experience for many students in the 11th grade, leading them to abandon math entirely after taking the class. He estimates that 30 percent of students don’t take any math in the 12th grade. Other estimates put that figure as high as 40 percent. That means that large numbers of students are likely to arrive in college unprepared for college-level math, and that they will have to take developmental classes to catch up. It might also disqualify them altogether from admission to most UC campuses.

Finkelstein said his hope is that students would not leave high school thinking a range of academic or career options is closed to them in college because they did not do well in math. The 12th-grade course should enable a student to start college with a clean slate, be ready with technical fluency in the subject and have a mindset for math and quantitative work in general. To achieve that goal, he said, the new 12th-grade math course should be engaging and filled with practical applications of math concepts. Teachers would have to be well-trained in the curriculum.


New assessments and teacher professional development training would have to be used in addition to the CCSS assessments/teacher PD training so students can meet California state college entrance requirements.  Will such budget requests be coming to your state soon?

Jason Zimba spoke the truth in 2013 in his exchange with Dr. Stotsky.  No amount of PR can fix CCSS reality.


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