Remediation - The Civil Rights Project at UCLA

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Remediation as a Civil Rights Issue in the
California State University System
Kimberly R. King
Steve Teixeira
Suzanne McElvoy
California State University, Los Angeles
What is Remediation in College?

Coursework designed to develop college-level skills
in math and English

Many educators prefer the term “developmental
education”


Incoming CSU students determined to need
remediation by scores on English and Math
Placement Tests
Provided by qualified faculty and staff.
Remediation as a Social Justice Remedy
“a remedy intended to restore
opportunity to those who otherwise
may be relegated to meager wages,
poor working conditions, and other
consequences of socioeconomic
marginalization.”
- Bahr (2008), Center for the Study of Higher and
Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan
E.O. 1048
 Chancellor Reed Established a Mandatory Early Start
Program (MESP)
 Students “not proficient” are required to begin
remediation prior to enrolling as freshmen at a CSU
 If they don’t, they will not be permitted to enroll in the
Fall

Exceptions for “extraordinary circumstances”
The Context: CSU Budget Crisis
 $1 billion cut since 2002  $500 million more cut in
Governor Brown's 2011 proposal
 Student fees have skyrocketed 242% since 2002
 In 2008, Chancellor announced planned enrollment
cuts of at least 40,000 CSU-eligible students; 2011 plans
to cut 10,000 more

One way to cut enrollment and “improve” graduation rates
and is to push out students who may need longer to master
course material
The Merit Myth: Cut the “Undeserving”
The Reality: “Remedial” Students did not Fail to
Prepare for CSU
 Remedial students are the majority of all CSU
first-year entrants who meet all eligibility
requirements (58%) - over 30,000 students
 At some CSUs, they are 75-93% of 1st-time
freshmen
 Their average H.S. GPAs are above 3.0
 CA Public k-12 spending/student is 47th in Nation

Some government leaders are failing, not our students!
Problems with Mandatory Early Start
 CSU already has successful remediation programs
– 80% remediate by the end of their first year
 CSU already has EO 665 (students must remediate
by end of 1st year)
 Unfair to Students

“Mandatory” - Forces some students to participate in extra
requirement, though they are fully qualified for CSU admission

Isn’t this a new Admissions Requirement??

Penalizes students who have already been cheated by education
system

Civil Rights issue - has more impact on students of color and
poorest students
UCLA CIVIL Rights Project
Research Question:
Do remediation policies and practices in the
CSU have a disparate effect on students of color
and students from low-income communities,
unfairly reducing their educational access and
retention, thus constituting a civil rights issue?
Remediation Need is Higher for
Underrepresented Students
 Higher among women, students of color,
low-income students of all colors
 Higher at CSU campuses serving:
 more African American & Mexican American
students

but number of White remedial students is large (2nd to
# of Mexican American students in CSU)
 more low-income students (i.e., Pell recipients)
Student Ethnicity
% Needing Remediation
 African American
83.2%
 Mexican American
73.6%
 Asian American
59.9%
 European American
39.0%
 All Freshmen
58.0%
Ethnic % Freshmen 2009
High Remediation Need
Af
 Dominguez Hills
 San Bernardino
25%
7
9
43%
49
48
3%
4
15
Low Remediation Need
 San Luis Obispo
 San Diego
 Humboldt
0.6
4
3
8
27
17
64
36
55
 Los Angeles
Mex
Euro
Remedial Students more often Attended High
Needs High Schools
High Schools with:
 More poverty
 More African American + Latino students
 More English Language learners
 Fewer fully credentialed teachers
 Lower API rank (Academic Performance Index)
 High-Needs K-12 schools and their teachers and
students face inadequate funding and greater
challenges
Punitive Policies Unfairly Applied?
E0 665 and Disenrollment
 The higher the remedial need on a campus, the higher the
rate of disenrollment of remedial students
 The higher the proportion of African American and
Mexican American freshmen and the lower the proportion
of White students, the higher the rate of disenrollment
 CSU has refused to release data on ethnicity or gender, or
on remediation rates for Special Admits of disenrolled
students--> Why? What does the CSU Administration
have to hide?
Problems with Early Start
 Erects new barriers to college attendance for underrepresented
students
 Punishes students for California’s maintenance of race and class
inequality in K-12 schools
 Tries to balance the budget & “increase grad rates” by decreasing
access to the state’s poorest and brownest young people
 Student loss of summer employment salary
 Higher student fees if extended education summer school
 Puts extreme burden on CSU campuses serving poorest and most
ethnic minority students
Conclusion
 CSU’s New Mandatory Early Start Program
will disproportionately impact students of
color, low-income students, and women
because their remediation rate s are higher
than other students
University Level
 CSU should provide clear data on disenrollment by
ethnicity, gender, and special admit status
 Rather than replace a successful program that is effective
for over 80% of students, CSU could consider an “Early
Warning” program for students who don’t pass their first
remedial course in Fall quarter to increase retention and
prevent disenrollment.
 CSU should convene conference to address campus
disparities in remediation, proficiency and disenrollment
rates and examine best practices
University Level
 CSU should provide supplemental funding to high
remediation need CSUs
 The CSU Chancellor and Board of Trustees need to
use their influence to organize and lobby for full
funding for the CSU
 In the meantime, don’t balance the budget by
perpetuating inequality by decreasing access to the
state’s poorest and brownest young people
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