• July 27, 2021

On August 18, the House Education Committee on Community Colleges in the General Assembly gave the thumbs up to a bill that will change the way senior year occurs for many North Carolinian students.

The bill, S.B. 561, will use the results of the American College Test (aka, the ACT) from juniors to determine whether or not they are ready for college-level courses. Students who aren’t ready will be required to take remedial math and English courses.

The president pro-tempore of the North Carolina Senate, Chad Barefoot (R-Wake), told WRAL that those who take the classes could earn high school and community college credit if they pass the class. He also told WRAL that 52% of those who enroll in community college have to take a remedial course and that this proposal will make sure they take this course during high school to better prepare them for college and the job market.

The material of the classes will be produced by the community colleges, but high school teachers will be teaching the material.

This system is based on a similar system in Tennessee, where 70 percent of those enrolled passed the course and then went on to community college.

Mrs. Arwood, a Calculus and Math III teacher at Leesville, is opposed to the law, saying that it is “redundant” and that “a remedial college course…sounds to me like it should already be a high school course.” She also stated that “it’s an unnecessary law, trying to control something that doesn’t need to be controlled.” Many teachers across the state share that same sentiment.

Unlike Mrs. Arwood, Rebecca Garland, the deputy superintendent for the Department of Public Instruction, is a strong proponent of the bill. She  said, “We’re trying to send a different message to our students: You have to do a high level of reading and math” and that “there is an expectation…without these skills, your job options…are probably not guaranteed.”

If passed, this bill could change the lives of thousands of high school students, many of whom who will end up attending one of North Carolina’s many community colleges. On one hand, if enacted, this bill could allow students to focus more time on college majors rather than remedial Math and English courses. On the other hand, having these courses in high schools could just be a redundant waste of time. Either way, it certainly would be interesting to see how this bill would pan out statewide,acting as somewhat of an experiment that could quite possibly set a trend for many other states around the nation.

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