The challenge of preparing students for college and, once they are there, finish

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The Obama administration has set an ambitious goal for the nation’s students –by 2020, every American should get at least a year of post-high-school education. But many high school graduates now enter college ill-prepared to tackle the coursework.  Nationwide, about a third of first year college students require one remedial course.  At two-year public colleges, the number rises to 42%. And for those students who do enroll in those “catch-up” classes, many do not complete the requirement and tend not to return to school.  Last year, colleges spent about $33 million on remedial education, twice as much as they did 10 years ago. Should colleges offer remedial courses?  Why do so many high school students need help?  And how can high schools work more closely with colleges to assure graduates are prepared?  We talk with two experts in the field — THOMAS BAILEY of Columbia University’s Teachers College and JOSEPH MERLINO, president of the 21st Century Partnership for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Education

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[audio: 060811_110630.mp3]

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