Education Failure Costs PA Taxpayers and Businesses

workforceThe Wall Street Journal and Philadelphia Inquirer recently shined a light on the failure of public schools to prepare their students for college-level coursework.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly 45 percent of community college students and 27 percent of four-year college students have taken at least one remedial course.

In Pennsylvania, the Community College of Philadelphia enrolls 70 percent of their students in at least one remedial course. The cost of remediation in the Keystone State is estimated to be about $153 million annually. In New Jersey, it is $121 million.

Additionally, employers who rely on highly skilled workers are beginning to worry that our high-spending but underperforming K-12 and higher education systems will prevent them from replacing aging employees. Experts say there is a growing gap between K-12 education and the skills employers and colleges are looking for.

Though this is an old problem, the stakes are higher now. More students are seeking jobs in technical fields that require four-year degrees or certificates, said Elisabeth Barnett, a researcher at the Community College Research Center.