Half of the Students Seeking an Associates Degree Require “Remedial Training”

From an article in the National Journal published last Friday:

To achieve the high-tech manufacturing base that Obama envisions, it will be necessary to train hundreds of thousands of workers for skilled jobs that will require technical training and some college-level coursework. That’s a heavy lift in the current climate, in which about half of the students seeking an associates degree require remedial training that they should have gotten in high school, according to Complete College America. (my emphasis)

The article then goes on to argue that there is a lack of coordination between the White House and Congress on career and technical education legislation, citing the career and technical education “blueprint” released by the White House last week and the dueling Workforce Investment Act (WIA) bills in the House as examples. But the specific problem highlighted in the passage above is never mentioned again. According to the article, the WIA legislation would “rejigger job-training programs and help colleges tailor their curriculum to workforce needs,” but no mention is made of whether this or any of the other legislative proposals would address the problem that half the people who want to go to college can’t read or write or perform basic math well enough to be successful at the postsecondary level to begin with (which is what the somewhat cryptic phrase “requires remedial training” means). Nor does the author explore the degree to which those students’ basic skills fall short.

Which was not the point of the article, I realize. I just thought it was interesting that the author made this weirdly-phrased reference to the issue—and then dropped it.