CSU recently moved to add an intermediate algebra competency to nine popular community college Associate Degrees for Transfer. These transfer degrees prepare students for non-math intensive majors, including Psychology, Administration of Justice, and several agricultural programs. Critics say the policy poses an arbitrary obstacle to students' degree completion, since students in these majors take Statistics, a course that mathematicians agree does not require proficiency in intermediate algebra. The move is generating widespread opposition from community college leaders and business and civil rights organizations, and a former UC Berkeley Law Dean has called for a lawsuit.
For the last two years, a group of community colleges in California have been revamping their approach to remedial math and English courses, and students like Paulo Romero are starting to feel something his friends at other schools are not: hope.
Last week more than 100 City University of New York faculty members, staffers and administrators gathered for a conference in Manhattan to discuss how to improve results for students considered academically unprepared for college. There has been substantial research suggesting that "remedial" classes act as more of a barrier than a passageway to earning a college degree.
There is a crisis in our traditional remedial mathematics education. Many, likely most, math faculty members have already heard much about this crisis. But many faculty members outside math departments are unaware of it and how it negatively affects them, which it probably does. Once you are aware of it, you may want to contribute to solving it, which you possibly can.