Feb 14, 2010 7:50 AM by Matt Stafford

Finding ways to fight the numbers

It's a pretty simple formula, an education can equal success, but right now for Colorado students, some variables are missing.

"If students don't have the foundation skills to do post-secondary work, they're not going to succeed." Tim Griffin, executive director of strategic management at Pikes Peak Community College.

The Colorado Commission on Higher Education shows one in three kids from the state, entering Colorado colleges, needs remedial help in reading, writing or math.

In El Paso County districts, around 31 percent of students need help in one or more subjects. Also in El Paso County, at the highest ranking schools, the numbers are closer to one in every two students.

"The majority of our students need some sort of remedial help," Tony Kinkel, president of Pikes Peak Community College.

That gives educators at P.P.C.C. an inside look at the problem, and they see plenty of room for improvement.

"There is such a disconnect between what's really going to be expected of them at a college level and what I think they think they're going to have to do," says Kinkel.

Kinkel thinks better communication between schools and colleges would be a big help. Common testing, linking curriculum and reaching out to students at younger ages are all ideas Kinkel thinks would help.

"Frankly, if we just invested in better alignment in math, almost half of this remedial problem would go away," Kinkel explains.

That will take more work, and cooperation.

"Why the report is good is because it's starting a dialogue, and I think that's what's most needed," Griffin says.

In the mean time, school districts have the numbers. The next step is to do something about them.

For now, Kinkel thinks better partnerships will make for better numbers.

To see specific numbers for high schools across the state, click here.


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