As a person interested in reversing the negative high school graduation rates a.k.a. dropouts, it may seem strange that I am writing this about college readiness. If you drop out obviously you are not "ready" for college. Unfortunately the two are related. In a couple of articles today (May 18, 2009) the Washington Post highlighted this problem. One of the references was to a 2003 Manhattan Institute study by Jay Greene and Greg Forster on the three components of college readiness. The three are: 1) high school diploma; 2) required sequence of courses for most colleges including four years of English, three years of math, and two years each of a foreign language, natural science, and social science; and 3) basic literacy. According to this study only about one-third of all students have met these three criteria.
It seems to be the link is obvious. It is basic literacy. My proposition all along on the dropout issue is to focus on reading and comprehension at the first sign of delay. That includes colors and the alphabet at pre-school on to the scores on reading tests at higher grades. If you cannot read you cannot do math, geography, biology, or certainly English with any proficiency. It seems to me that this report and the others this morning point to this basic skill as the launch pad for college but also for getting the minimum needed to succeed--a high school diploma. Communities if you are looking for a place to start to address our economic and social crisis--here it is.