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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Remediation as a Civil Rights Issue in the California State University System


From the foreward by Gary Orfield:

As we face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, college opportunity has been negatively impacted by drastic cuts and the rising cost of education. In California specifically, higher education opportunity seems to be nearly out of reach for low-income students, academically unprepared students, and students of color. Historically, higher education has been considered a mechanism of upward mobility. Considered part of the “American Dream,” parents encourage their children to strive for this goal, even if parents themselves never attended college.Academically underprepared students, or this lacking the basic skills of math ad/or English to be at college-level, represent over half of entering freshmen at the CSU. What these startling numbers really represent is a growing number of underprepared students graduating California high schools, often with excellent grades, yet being denied admission of the state’s public institutions. Despite California’s commitment to universal access to all who can benefit and tuition-free education, what we are seeing is an inability to uphold this social contract at the cost of student’s futures.The negative impact of budget cuts has been felt beyond the students and their families. Recent pay cuts, furloughs, and other declines in financial support have also impacted faculty and staff at the CSU campuses. Increasingly, faculty and staff have feelings of unfairness, as they struggle to provide services and quality education to students, yet experience enormous cut after cut. Morale continues to plummet as faculty and staff are expected to perform the duties of educating the stat’s youth, ye the value of education seems practically non-existent within the state’s budget priorities.

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