Of Broken Records or Repeating MP3 Files: Colorado Remediation Rate Still Too High

I was going to say that sometimes my blog can sound like a broken record, but I’m too young to know what a record even is. So how about, please forgive me in advance if this post sounds like an MP3 file on a repeat loop. (Someone else can figure out how to smooth out the metaphor so it rolls off the tongue.)

Even so, the news to be shared is too significant to put on the shelf just because it sounds like something you may have read here last year. I’m talking about too many Colorado high school graduates needing extra academic help in college:

I’m sure almost no one is satisfied with the progress or the results in the area of remediation. Any suggestions that more money simply be poured into the status quo model need to be greeted with a hefty dose of skepticism, though.

I wrote that in 2012 when the newest data showed a remediation rate for Colorado high school graduates of about 32 percent. Well, here we go again. As the Denver Post‘s Anthony Cotton reports, the situation really hasn’t improved much at all:

Nearly 40 percent of Colorado’s high school class of 2011 needed remedial courses in at least one subject before beginning college-level work, down from 41.4 percent the year before, according to a report released Tuesday by the Colorado Department of Higher Education.

Those paying close attention may be scratching their heads. Huh? You might say it’s not just that things haven’t improved but they look a lot worse. Well, yes, they look a lot worse because the Colorado Department of Higher Education has been able to improve how they collect and report the numbers. So the Class of 2011 remediation rate actually ticked down slightly, though we now realize the situation has been worse than previously thought.

For every 10 students who graduate from a Colorado high school and attend a Colorado college or university, 4 of them need extra academic help. The annual cost for remediation was about $58 million in 2011-12: $39 million for the students and $19 million for the state. What would happen if those costs were included in the annual K-12 spending totals? It’s another 70 dollars per pupil.

As I said last year, time to look at education transformation. I hate being a broken record, or a repeating MP3 file. But Colorado can do better!