Next year, high school seniors in North Carolina’s public schools will be in a program that eventually will require all those who don’t meet criteria measuring school progress to take remedial courses. It came about because community colleges found there were far too many students who weren’t prepared for higher-level work.
This is all fine, but North Carolina legislators ought to be looking at what more can be done to bolster public schools so that a diploma can be won in a standard amount of time. Make no mistake — the vast majority of students are graduating prepared to move on. But when remedial courses become pretty standard for so many, it says something about the system in which those students have been enrolled.
And given the Republican leadership in the General Assembly and the sad, mostly-critical view GOP leaders have of public schools, it’s likely that what’s really needed to curb the need for remedial classes is more investment in the conventional, mainstream public schools to which most North Carolina families send their children.
That would mean more teachers in math and science basics and more offerings for higher-level courses in those subjects, and smaller classes all around. It would mean as well investment in arts courses — music and visual arts — to grab the interest of students whose academic rigor might be improved by those offerings.
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It would mean, in other words, a focus on the “sound, basic education” that North Carolina’s constitution promises students.