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The Madera Tribune

Colleges should be tougher to get into

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webmaster | 09/07/13

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who resigned her post Friday, will soon take over the University of California system. She could use her Homeland Security experience by tightening the standards for admission.

The same could be said for almost all the public universities and junior colleges in California. Studies continue to show that students entering college at all levels are being let in despite the fact many of them are unqualified to be in college.

Of those newly admitted to junior college, for example, fully 75 percent are required to take remedial courses in English and math.

That would seem to reflect two things. Either the high schools from which these students have emerged with freshly minted diplomas are terrible when it comes to teaching math and English, or the students are abysmally stupid, or both.

That statistic is not a new development, by the way. Even in the 1970s and ’80s, when modern educational practices were being forced down the throats of the country’s educators, many of the students who found their ways into colleges at any level weren’t equipped by their high schools to be there, or were simply intellectually unqualified, and would have been better off studying trades or going into the armed services.

Studying trades would confer two benefits: The student would learn skills that would enable him or her to make a living, and also would provide time for the student to mature so he or she could go on to college should he or she qualify.

The services also provide skill training, sometimes in more than one endeavor, and also provide training by classes and example in personal discipline — something many young students lack. The services also provide money for college to those who qualify. The new Cal chief should realize that her colleges should not be for everybody, but only for those who qualify.

Napolitano is known for her intellectual depth and toughness. She may be just what the California University system needs.


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