Victor Davis Hanson from his recent speech Two States of California (worth your time BTW):
When I went in (to the California State University system) in 1984 as a professor of Classics, the remediation rate – that was a fancy term for those who are admitted into the CUS system, the largest university system in the world, well over a quarter-million students – was 32%, and the graduation rate in four years was 51%. When I left 23 years later the remediation rate was 55% and the average for SIX years graduation was 49%.
How did California solve that problem? They just got rid of the word last year called “remediation.” So rather than saying 60% of the students who entered the CSU system cannot take a college class because they don’t qualify to be there in the first place and therefore you have remediated class – we used to call them “Bonehead English” and “Bonehead Math” – and you don’t get college credit for it, we don’t call it remediation anymore and they solved the problem. There’s zero remediation now.
But believe me, if we’re going to build a high-speed rail, who is going to pilot it? Who is going to engineer it? Somebody who is remediated?
So after saying that, to emphasisze this idea of schizophrenia, I go over to the coast and I’m at Stanford University. Last year the London Times Higher Education supplement – and was confirmed by the University of Tokyo – rated the greatest universities supposedly in the world. You’d think they’d all be Japanese and British since they were doing the surveys. Number one – CalTech. Number two – Stanford. Number four – Berkeley. Number ten – UCLA. Number fifteen – USC. FIVE of them were from California. California had more top universities than any other NATION except the United States, and yet it has a public school system where just 60% of people can’t read or write. It’s the same state, believe me.
See also this post from December of 2004.