There are two gaping holes in California’s college graduate pipeline, writes CALmatters political columnist Dan Walters in his Dec. 13 column.

The first one involves the state’s K-12 public schools system. It graduates too many high school students who can’t advance through college without significant remedial education.

The second shortcoming is the California State University system’s inability to admit all qualified students. According to a recent Public Policy Institute of California study: “In the past four years, CSU has turned away more than 69,000 qualified California high school graduates, who have completed the … course requirements.”

Walters notes that state education officials appear to be dumbing down high school graduation requirements. There is no longer a graduation exam and 40% of graduates admitted to CSU campuses “require remedial English and math courses because their high school instruction fell short,” he writes.

What’s going on here?

“California’s high school graduation requirements, in terms of academic courses taken and passed, are among the nation’s lowest and are also significantly lower than what CSU and the University of California require for admission,” Walters analyzes.

Only 30% of Today’s Ninth-Graders Will Become College Graduates

The PPIC study paints a picture of big problems ahead for a California economy that needs skilled workers to successfully compete in the technologically driven global economy.

“Far too many California students are falling off the pathway to and through college,” the PPIC study states. “At current rates of high school and college completion, only about 30 percent of California 9th graders will earn a bachelor’s degree, a rate that is insufficient for an economy that increasingly demands more highly educated workers.”

Concludes Walters:

“No, not every Californian needs a four-year college degree. And society needs lots of skilled workers without college diplomas to produce services and goods and maintain our machinery, from cars to power plants, and technology.

“However, we do need enough college-educated workers to replace retiring members of the baby-boom generation and keep us competitive in a global economy, and we need those graduates to be truly educated, not just shuffled through a system with lowered standards.”

You can read the entire Walters’ column at this link.



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