The K-12 public school education system in the United States continues, on the federal and state levels, to implement a variety of reforms to ensure students are prepared for life after school. For a great number of these students, their public school education is in preparation for college. However, not all students entering college are prepared for the academic rigor. According to Complete College America, a Washington-based, non-profit aimed at increasing college completion, four in 10 high school graduates are required to take remedial courses when they begin college, because they aren’t academically prepared (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/paul-lepage-maine-governo_n_1707851.html?view=print&comm_ref=false). Perhaps Maine Governor, Paul LePage, has developed an educational reform that will help mitigate students not being academically prepared for college.
Governor LePage notes “54 percent of the students entering Maine’s community colleges and 20-25 percent of the students entering four-year universities have to take remedial courses to re-learn basic tools” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/27/paul-lepage-maine-governo_n_1707851.html?view=print&comm_ref=false). LePage cites the failure of Maine’s public school education as the reason students are required to take the remedial courses. LePage continues, Maine’s tax-payers pays for the students’ public school education, and then have to re-pay for the remedial classes taken in college. LePage will introduce a legislative plan at the next session requiring high schools to pay the cost of their graduates’ expense for remedial courses taken in college. In essence, this proposes a money-back guarantee that all students entering college are academically prepared at the appropriate level and will not have to take remedial classes. Will this type of education reform be effective?
Perhaps LePage should require a more rigorous admissions system for the colleges and universities in Maine, thus ensuring or mitigating the need for remedial classes. Perhaps the money-back guarantee can be expanded to other college programs. If prospective lawyers do not pass their Bar Examination, will they get their money back from their law schools also? Perhaps an expansion of post-secondary vocational programs will allow for more viable options for graduating seniors.
Public school education reform is a critical problem for the future of the United States. Reform is very complex and problems are layered and unique in geographical, social, economic, and ethnic perspectives, but I am not sure LePage’s plan for Maine will help reform public school education. Governor LePage’s money-back guarantee seems to only complicate and not mitigate Maine’s public school reform.