Not back to ba­sics at CSU

Los Angeles Times - - OPINION -

Re “Cal State to re­vamp fresh­man course plan,” Aug. 4

So it seems that the Cal State Univer­sity sys­tem is go­ing to drop re­me­dial classes and place­ment ex­ams in math and English, start­ing in the fall of 2018. And what will be the re­sult?

Fac­ulty out­side of math and English will quickly see a de­cline in clar­ity as well as ba­sic lan­guage com­mand, and, a few years later, em­ploy­ers will get the same taste of poor writ­ing skills and com­pre­hen­sion. The value of a Cal State de­gree will rather quickly be stained.

Hav­ing taught writ­ing classes at Cal Poly Pomona from 1986 until this June, I can say with cer­tainty that the am­bi­tions of Cal State ad­min­is­tra­tors to dou­ble the num­ber of their grad­u­ates by 2025 will come at great cost. When you con­sider the num­ber of func­tional il­lit­er­ates as well as pure Google copiers pour­ing out of our high schools th­ese days, with­out hand­son writ­ing cour­ses for re­me­dial stu­dents, the re­sults are pre­dictable. Sadly, the big losers will be the stu­dents. Glen T. Golden

San Di­mas Hav­ing taught math at Cal State Long Beach for 30 years, I feel that in as­sess­ing CSU's re­cent ef­forts to im­prove its grad­u­a­tion rates by drop­ping re­me­dial al­ge­bra and English, you might ask your­self if you want to be op­er­ated on by a doc­tor who grad­u­ated from a med school with­out pass­ing ba­sic anatomy. Low­er­ing the bar for col­lege grad­u­a­tion moves us closer to a post-truth and post-fact so­ci­ety. James D. Stein

Re­dondo Beach

Why are the 25,000 stu­dents be­ing ad­mit­ted in the first place? Stu­dents not pre­pared for the cur­ricu­lum of a Cal State school should be di­rected to a com­mu­nity col­lege. To make spe­cial al­lowances for them is adding a bur­den on the stu­dents who are ready, and as noted, it sets them up for frus­tra­tion. Sean Clough

Santa Ana

Many Cal State fresh­men aren't ready for col­lege work, so the so­lu­tion to the prob­lem of low grad­u­a­tion rates is to drop the re­quire­ment they take re­me­dial classes to get them the math and English skills they need to suc­ceed?

What are they teach­ing at Cal State that doesn't re­quire fun­da­men­tal reading, writ­ing and math skills? Ad­vanced Twit­ter palaver and In­sta­gram pho­tog­ra­phy 101?

And the more fun­da­men­tal ques­tion: How is it that 25,000 stu­dents en­ter­ing the Cal sys­tem each year are be­ing grad­u­ated from high schools with­out the ba­sic math and English skills needed for col­lege?

Seems to me the com­mu­nity and state col­leges should be ask­ing high schools to step up and grad­u­ate kids who can read and write, not mak­ing plans to dumb down, and de­value, higher ed­u­ca­tion. James Her­gen­rather

Los Angeles

Why does Cal State even ac­cept stu­dents who need re­me­dial writ­ing or re­me­dial math? Isn’t that what the ju­nior col­lege sys­tem is for? Ju­dith Bloom

Man­hat­tan Beach

Re­mem­ber when col­lege ac­cep­tance was based on ac­tual achieve­ment, us­ing high school grades, ACT and SAT scores to de­ter­mine if stu­dents could han­dle the rig­ors of col­lege? And re­mem­ber when we ac­tu­ally got re­jec­tion let­ters be­cause some col­leges felt we weren't pre­pared enough to keep up with their cur­ricu­lum? Jill Chapin

Santa Monica

I was a high school math­e­mat­ics teacher for 35 years. I’ve seen the place­ment ex­ams at lo­cal col­leges. They are much eas­ier than the fi­nal ex­ams for al­ge­bra and ge­om­e­try given in most high schools.

In some cases a stu­dent can pass the­ses ex­ams with much less than 70% cor­rect, the stan­dard for a “C” grade in high schools. The rate of pass­ing th­ese place­ment ex­ams would be much lower if the high school stan­dard was used.

Schools — sec­ondary and col­lege — are not do­ing stu­dents any fa­vors by giv­ing them diplo­mas with­out a mas­tery of ba­sic math and English. Steve Mur­ray

Hunt­ing­ton Beach

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