Colleges spend billions reteaching the basics to (at least) a third of their students:

It’s a tough lesson for millions of students just now arriving on campus: Even if you have a high school diploma, you may not be ready for college.

In fact, a new study calculates, one-third of American college students have to enroll in remedial classes.

The bill to colleges and taxpayers for trying to bring them up to speed on material that they were supposed to learn in high school comes to between $2.3 billion and $2.9 billion annually.

“That is a very large cost, but there is an additional cost and that’s the cost to the students,” said former Colorado Gov. Roy Romer, chairman of the group Strong American Schools, which is issuing the report “Diploma to Nowhere” on Monday.

“These students come out of high school really misled. They think they’re prepared. They got a 3.0 and got through the curriculum they needed to get admitted, but they find what they learned wasn’t adequate,” Mr. Romer said.

One reason this is true is because of nonsense like this: An “A” is just not an “A” anymore when a city school policy sets 50% as a minimum score. I thought this line was interesting:

And [Ms. Leonardi] said one teacher she knows already worries about how awkward it will look when a student correctly answers three of 10 questions on a math quiz — and gets a 50 percent.

Look awkward to whom? The student? THEY CAN’T DO THEIR MATH!

This reminded me of Douglas Wilson’s book Recovering the Lost Tools of Learning: An Approach to Distinctively Christian Education. Wilson writes on pg. 15:

In a comparison of 24,000 thirteen-year-olds from the United States, Ireland, Spain, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and four Canadian provinces, the United States placed last in mathematics and almost last in science. Korean students were first in math and tied for first in science with Canadian students in British Columbia.  In one aspect of math, however, the Americans did just fine. “Despite their poor overall performance, however, two-thirds of U.S. thirteen-year-olds felt that ‘they are good at mathematics’; only 23 percent of their Korean counterparts shared that attitude.” When it comes to maintaining a high self-image, we can take on the world.