Putting Education Reform To The Test

Why The Florida Senate Wants To Change College Remedial Course Requirements

Sagette Van Embden / Florida Center for Investigative Reporting

A bill approved by the Florida Senate might make remedial college courses less daunting for students like Shakira Lockett.

Shakira Lockett always got pretty good grades in school. That’s why she was surprised to find out she had failed her college placement exam at Miami Dade College.

Lockett spent a year a half taking remedial classes in reading, writing and math before she could start earning credits toward a degree. She finished her studies — but Lockett’s a rare case for students who end up in remedial courses.

National statistics show just 1 in 10 community college students forced to take a remedial course finish their studies within three years.

The Florida Senate is trying to address that problem, approving a bill that ends requiring students to take remedial classes for no credit. Instead, students would take “co-requisite classes” — taking regular college work while receiving basic instruction at the same time. Those co-requisite courses might span two semesters or require lab work.

The bill, SB 1720, also asks the State Board of Education and the State University System Board of Governors to group majors by shared skills or knowledge, and then identify which courses should be required as a foundation for those majors.

A handful of Democrats voted against the bill, worried that it could make it more difficult for minorities or older students returning to school after a break.

For more on the challenges of remedial education and what colleges and education leaders are doing to help more students finish college, check out “13th Grade,” our series with the Florida Center for Investigative Reporting.


  • Stargazer

    The public schools should be addressing this problem and not passing students through, largely based upon FCAT scores, which are meaningless. If it’s made too difficult for incoming community college students, they will drop out. Many of these students have no idea they lack the basic academic skills to survive in college. How can they remain motivated if the system has failed them? It takes an extraordinary individual to survive the remedial program…and they are in the minority. Educators should be re-designing the educational system – not the politicians!

  • Citizen

    I have a problem with this paragraph – A handful of Democrats voted against the bill, worried that it could make it more difficult for minorities or older students returning to school after a break. I can understand the part where they say older students returning to school, example: a stay at home mom that after raising her children and leave they leave home, so she decides to go to college to get a degree. she’s definitely would need remedial classes. BUT why would minorities need remedial?! Are these democrats saying we minorities are idiots? That we can’t catch on because we’re minorities? Did we not go to the same school with the majority? Were they taught something different while we were in the same class? That statement is a complete insult.

    • Girl Retought

      the comments were not based on the assumption that minorities would “need” the courses but that the disparities in the education systems are clear. K-12 schools that boost high minority or low income enrollment tend to have a lower educational resources for their students. These students are trained to make the school look successful through test scores so that remains the focus of our schools. The pathway classes are set up to aid students to succeed in post secondary education not make the process harder. i think the aim should be to reevaluate the content, time of course and its application o degree credits not to remove it completely. It cost more to repeat a class 3 times then to take a pathway (remedial) course once. I am a first generation minority women that took a pathway math course my freshmen year and that assisted me with information and confidence to complete my BS and MA in Florida :)

About StateImpact

StateImpact seeks to inform and engage local communities with broadcast and online news focused on how state government decisions affect your lives.
Learn More »