Letters to the Editor

Community college, remedial education, mascot changes

Students march during a protest against tuition increases at the University of California, Berkeley.
Students march during a protest against tuition increases at the University of California, Berkeley. Associated Press file

Community college are solid choice

Re “Senate leader ventures into UC admissions thicket” (Foon Rhee, Oct. 17) and “Some CSUS freshmen need additional study” (Insight, Oct. 17): These articles intersect. Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leon wants more diversity at California State University and University of California campuses, and schools with students of lower socio-economic status and higher minority enrollment send freshmen to CSU Sacramento who need remediation.

These articles imply that CSU and UC slots will be filled proportionally with students not ready for college courses. Who funds the frustration of these students’ when they take longer to graduate and could be better served at community colleges?

The Public Policy Institute of California projects a shortage of 1 million California college graduates by 2030. However, I can’t find where PPIC authors account for qualified students who attend out-of-state schools because CSU and UC campuses are impacted. How many students graduate from high schools with high performance rates, yet take their talents elsewhere at great sacrifice, but graduate more quickly?

David Kuchera, Sacramento

Remedial needs are staggering

The numbers of students needing remedial classes as reported is staggering. Even lowest rates should be an embarrassment for any school.

Why is any politician touting free junior college when we haven’t figured out how to properly educate students after 12 years of elementary and high school? If money is to be spent, it should be directed to ensuring that students have the skills and knowledge as they leave high school, whether that path is to college or some alternative. It is crazy to not address this problem in our current public and free system rather than perpetuate it.

Kathy Wright, Sacramento

Don’t push every student to college

Staff writer Diana Lambert’s report about unprepared college students was spot on. Many factors account for the disconnect between high schools and colleges.

There is an illogical push to have everyone on a college-prep track, relegating other practical paths that might be more amenable and interesting to students to the background.

Another problem desperately needing to be addressed is grading. The system, in K-12 and higher education, does little to reflect a student’s actual proficiency. Grading often includes subjective and immaterial points for extra credit or attendance.

Just because students are present does not necessarily mean that they’re engaged. Just because they turned in their homework doesn’t mean they solved the problems. By turning the end result of learning into a numbers’ game or a payoff, we’ve raised a students who are more interested in GPA’s than actual learning.

Mirna Jope, Carmichael

Remediation needs are not new

I went to The University of Notre Dame 50 years ago after graduating from Foothill High School in North Highlands. I attended summer school after my freshman year. My roommate was required to re-take Theology and English Literature, which were core requirements to earn degrees, or face expulsion.

He got As in biological science, engineering, physical science, calculus, astronomy and Air Force ROTC but got Fs in Theology and English Literature. He wanted to be an astronaut and asked, “What am I going to do? Read the Bible and Shakespeare on the way to the moon?”

I invested time and money in college courses I never used. It seems sad kids spend five years earning college degrees because they are required to pass courses they may never need. CSUS should not accept students who don’t qualify with minimum math and English admission standards.

Dave Mulvehill, Rancho Murieta

West Campus aims for high achievers

Re “West Campus beats odds again on new state tests” (Insight, Oct. 18): I couldn’t shake the feeling that West Campus was being presented as a model for success for lower income neighborhoods and closing the achievement gap. West Campus didn’t beat the odds. It just rigged the game.

It would be difficult not to succeed when you can select the best students and dis-enroll anyone who fails to meet standards. The article, particularly the headline, implies successes that can’t be achieved at other schools because they don’t have the luxuries afforded West Campus.

Congratulations to West Campus, but somehow the least among us, with discipline problems, learning difficulties, poor parents, and poverty still need to get educated. We need a system for them.

George Carrington, Granite Bay

Politicians need to go back to school

Politicians, for all their posturing, don’t really understand what happens in our public schools. We hear constantly about the achievement gap between the rich and poor, among white, Asian, African American and Hispanic students, and wring our hands about how to solve it. It might appear that West Campus has discovered something special.

West Campus has the highest test results in our area, and many of its students go to college, which is very impressive. But with a little critical thinking, we can see the school has not defied the odds, as the article suggests.

Students are motivated because know that if their GPA is too low, they will have to leave. Parents are motivated because they know it is a good school and will work hard to make sure their kids do their job. Staff has high expectations.

It’s a simple formula, and not a mystery. Too bad the politicians and the rest of society is too busy being politically correct to admit the truth.

Jeff Randall, Antelope

What’s next after purging ‘Redskins’

Re “Ditching `Redskins’ name steps toward healing” (Editorials, Oct 13): How special. Now that high schools sports teams are going to be restricted from using long established mascot names, such as Redskins, Indians, chiefs, I am waiting for the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame to be renamed the Whirling Squirrels or Dancing Dandelions, although that might not go over well with some environmentalist special interest group objects.

Sharon Gill, Sacramento

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