DENVER – Dec. 10, 2013. In an effort to improve college and career readiness in Illinois, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon on Tuesday participated in an Education Commission of the States (ECS) national steering committee meeting in Denver, Colorado, that reviewed state-level remedial education reporting standards and discussed the creation of national remediation standards.
The steering committee is charged with reviewing the results of a nationwide analysis of remedial education reporting policies, providing feedback on the data and recommending a uniform way to calculate remedial enrollment and completion. Currently, reporting metrics vary widely between states and even schools within states.
“Too many students in Illinois spend too much time and money on remedial courses in higher education,” Simon said. “But to fully understand and address those needs, we need to move toward consistent standards on participation and success. I am excited to engage leaders from across the country on how to effectively reform remediation education and achieve the Illinois college completion goal.”
Almost 60 percent of students entering the nation’s community colleges require some form of remediation in math, reading or English, according to an ECS report. Only about 15 percent of these students continue on to college-level work in one year, potentially leaving millions of adults without the means of attaining a livable wage. The study recommended better use of data and increased accountability to better serve students in need of remedial education.
In Illinois, 21 percent of students enrolled in community colleges took at least one remedial course in fiscal year 2012, and some campuses report up to 90 percent of students enroll in at least one remedial course. Recognizing that remedial math skills are the biggest academic barrier to college completion, Simon led efforts to launch the state’s first middle school and high school math curriculum this year.
The ECS remedial education steering committee is comprised of approximately 25 participants that will include education committee chairs, state higher education executive officers, chief state school officers, and national policy experts. Funded by Lumina Foundation, the meeting is being co-chaired by Colorado Lt. Governor Joe Garcia, Massachusetts Commissioner of Education Mitchell Chester, and Idaho Senate Education Committee Chair John Goedde.
Simon serves as the state's point person on education reform. In this capacity, Simon is working to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent by 2025.