"A child's learning is the funtion more of the characteristics of his classmates than those of the teacher." James Coleman, 1972

Monday, March 17, 2014

Carol Burris Corrects More Duncan Lies from Massachusetts

Boston's CorpEd rag, the Boston Globe, quoted Arne Duncan's recent lie that 40 percent of MA high school grads attending 4 year colleges take remedial courses.  Did it occur to Globe's Scot Lehigh to do a little fact-checking?  Oh, I forgot, his is a column, so any lie repeated is totally fair.

Correction from The Answer Sheet:

. . . .What is “staggering” is the gross inaccuracy of the claim. Here are the facts:

   Twenty-two percent of the students who attend four-year state universities in Massachusetts and 10 percent of the students who attend the University of Massachusetts take at least one remedial course.  That group (students who attend four-year public colleges) comprises 28 percent of all high school graduates in the Commonwealth.
   Thirty percent of all Massachusetts graduates attend private four-year colleges.  Although I could not find remediation rates for such students, we know that nationally 15 percent of students who attend not-for-profit four-year colleges or universities take remedial courses.

Using the above, I estimate that the percentage of students in Massachusetts who attend four-year colleges and take remedial courses is roughly 17 percent, not the 40 percent that Duncan claimed.
Where remedial rates are at their highest are in the state’s community colleges. According to this report by the Massachusetts Department of Education, 60 percent of community college students take at least one remedial course.  This would be a far higher rate than reported for public community colleges by the National Center of Educational Statistics, which provides a national rate of 24 percent (down from 30 percent in 2000).

Now let’s examine the facts about the community colleges of Massachusetts:

   Less than one-third of all community college students are first-time, full-time, degree-seeking students.
   The other two-thirds belong to one or more of the following categories: part-time students, adult returning students, or students seeking a certificate.
   The campuses are open-enrollment—students do not need SATs, good grades or even a high school diploma—a GED will suffice.

The smallest share of high school graduates attending college in Massachusetts choose community college (22 percent).

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