When I read this article, I was furious. This story should never be told, in Minnesota or elsewhere:

Despite meeting all of the requirements for a diploma, I had to take a class in college that covered material I had already passed in high school. Worse, this class wouldn’t earn me any credit toward a degree, although I had to pay full tuition for it.

Coming from a low-income family, I did not have the extra money to take a class that wouldn’t count toward my degree. Minnesota’s college graduates already carry one of the nation’s highest student debt loads and repay their loans at an above average rate. Yet remedial classes saddle students with additional debt, don’t earn them degrees, and deter them from completed their degrees – at a time when an increasing number of Minnesota jobs require post-secondary education.

Jazmyne McGill is the face of educational theft in Minnesota. What’s happened to her has happened to other students:

In fact, fewer than one in 10 students enrolled in remedial classes graduate from community college within three years. About a third complete a bachelor’s degrees in six years. Thirty percent of students who complete their remedial courses don’t even attempt entry-level college courses within 2 years, according to Complete College America.

Education Minnesota has been in the business of trapping students in failing schools for years. What they’re doing is unforgiveable. The thought that these students have to pay a price because Education Minnesota’s lobbyists are close friends with DFL politicians is infuriating.

What Education Minnesota and the DFL have stolen from Jazmyne McGill isn’t just time:

Burden is financial and emotional
These classes not only place a financial burden on our students but an emotional one as well. I can attest to the self-doubt that comes along with hearing I needed to take a remedial course. I felt defeated and as though I did not belong.

The fact that Jazmyne McGill had to doubt her abilities is appalling. Any educational system that instills that type of doubt in students needs to be torn down. Reform isn’t possible, at least not in the short term:

While many efforts are under way to strengthen the K-12 system long-term, there’s a solution available that can give Minnesota’s college students immediate relief: co-requisite classes. Co-requisites are an alternative approach to remedial education that alleviates the financial burden of remedial courses. Co-requisites are entry-level credit-bearing classes that provide supplemental academic instruction including individual assistance and on-line support, in areas where students have demonstrated skill gaps.

Co-requisite courses allow students to enter their desired programs of study within the first academic year and give them the opportunity to graduate on time. Rather than eliminate remedial instruction, they embed it into college-level, credit-bearing courses. They help students succeed, lead to higher graduation rates and show them the education system is on their side and wants them to graduate and become productive citizens and workers.

The first step in fixing this problem is to close failing schools. Any system that deprives students of the ability to learn is immoral. Leaving those schools open is immoral, too. Architects of an education system that tells students that they’re trapped in failing schools without a viable option is a system that’s corrupted. Those systems must be eliminated ASAP.

Finally, anyone caught defending the status quo should be fired, too. FYI- People who say all that’s needed is more funding are defending the status quo. That isn’t a solution. It’s a con game that’s played out too long.

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