Community colleges are a great way to ease into the college life. They provide a relatively low cost, quality educational alternative to spending your first two years at expensive four year colleges taking the basics.

Unfortunately, many of the students going to community college for the first time lack the preparation they need to succeed.  According to Education Week Magazine, almost 60 percent of students hitting these two-year campuses aren’t ready for what they face. Remedial education is in the books for three out of five students. And even with that, the students probably won’t graduate any time soon. Fewer than 25 percent of those who need the remedial education manage to get a degree in eight years.

To deal with these problems, community colleges are trying to do things a little differently. One is to get to students before they make it to community colleges. Some colleges offer class credits that can be taken while in high school, thus preparing them ahead of time for the rigor of higher education.  Also, there is an interest in making sure educators in grades K through 12 pay attention to how well college students do. By knowing college students’ weaknesses, K-12  schools can adjust curriculum so as to better prepare students.

Community colleges themselves are working on ways to better help students when they show up. To counteract the boring nature of remedial education, some schools will advance students who don’t need as much help faster than others, thus lowering the amount of time they have to spend in remedial education. Also, some community colleges are trying to target students who have to repeat classes early on, so they can get them help before they drop out.

Read more about this at EdWeek.

It is a fact of life in this country that stable careers usually require a college education. Gone are the days when one could graduate from high school and get a well-paying job that would last for decades. Unfortunately, the necessity of higher education means that more and more students who may not be ready are pushed into the grinder. Remedial education will become increasingly important as we try to ensure that all students have the opportunity for success. The assistance will have to come system-wide. From Kindergarten to college, educators will have to do a better job of assessing weaknesses and addressing them. If they do not, then the future of our country will be uneducated, and, perhaps, unemployable.