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Readers Respond

Boosting college readiness isn't just a problem for Baltimore [Letter]

Your recent report on college readiness among Baltimore City high school graduates presented the academic challenges facing college-bound students in the city but failed to address the problem at a systemic, statewide level (“Boosting college readiness is goal for new city schools CEO,” Aug. 9).

While focusing on yet another city “problem,” The Sun missed a critical opportunity to explore alternatives to the remedial education programs that ultimately make a college education cost-prohibitive and inaccessible to students throughout Maryland.

While Baltimore’s college readiness data is worth noting, it is clear that this is a universal problem. Students who graduate from a Baltimore high school, or anywhere else in Maryland, should be able to enter college directly without remediation.

Remedial course work requires students to pay for non-credit courses, which substantially increases the risk they won’t not finish a degree program. The real way to reduce the need for remedial education and improve access to college is mostly beyond the reach of Baltimore school officials because it requires state leaders to ensure requirements for high school graduation are properly aligned with that of college entrance.

State officials must also develop a better system to support students in need of additional educational assistance — without expending valuable grants and loans on non-credit course work.

Jason Perkins-Cohen, Baltimore

The writer is executive director of the Job Opportunities Task Force.

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