Report shows more than half of SCS high school students not ready for college

50% of Tennessee students not college ready

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new report from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission found 58.1 percent of students graduating from Shelby County Schools needed remedial classes in math before starting college and 40.7 percent needed remedial classes in reading.

Keith Williams represents the Shelby County teachers union.'

"It's alarmingly high," Williams said.

He says the math and reading curriculum is the root of the problem, specifically the new Engage New York curriculum the district adopted two years ago.

"We are using this math that most of the math teachers don't agree with, we are using EL which is a very far and away very different way of teaching language. And these may be some of the early results," Williams said.

Marlena Little teaches 6th grade at the Memphis Business Academy Charter School and is currently studying for a masters in education.

"I do think parents should be concerned," Little said.

The report only looked at students who attended public schools in Tennessee, which Little believes is not painting an accurate picture.

However, she agrees that college readiness is a major problem for SCS students.

Little says students who aren't ready for college often don't get their degrees.

"Students who do take remedial courses actually do not mostly finish. You have about between a 20 and 50 percent of students who actually take remedial courses do not finish and complete their degree," Little said.

Little would like teachers to focus less on standardized tests and more on fundamentals in their classrooms

Williams says if the state of Tennessee wants better ACT scores, then the standardized tests, like TN Ready, needs to change to reflect that.

“It just makes sense to me, what you want to measure, you ought to teach,” Williams said.

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