Governor Dannel P. Malloy, joined by legislators and state higher education officials today at Norwalk Community College for a ceremonial bill signing, said that a new state law will add extra support for college students who need help in their regular courses and ensure that graduating high school seniors are better prepared for the rigors of higher education.
"We do a disservice to our college students when we burn through their financial aid to pay for remedial learning which doesn't fulfill graduation requirements," Governor Malloy said. "The strength of our economy depends on the skill of our workforce. The more our college students spend their time and their financial aid preparing for entry into the job market, the better trained our workforce will be."
Public Act 12-40, An Act Concerning College Readiness and Completion, requires the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (ConnSCU), under the governance of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, beginning by the 2014 fall semester, to offer certain students remedial support embedded with corresponding entry-level courses, and certain other students an intensive college readiness program. It also requires public high schools and ConnSCU institutions to align their curricula by the fall semester of 2016 and to use multiple assessments for placement.
The new procedures will ensure that students are spending their time and money earning college credits that will help them graduate, as opposed to taking remedial courses that don't count towards graduation requirements. PA 12-40 provides for a welcome change from the current practice that requires as many as three semesters of course-based remedial work before students enroll in courses carrying college credit and substitutes instead an innovative intensive college readiness experience that lasts no longer than one semester.
"There is no question that the connection between a quality education and the ability to get a quality job has never been as important as it is today," Lt. Governor Wyman said. "This bill will help prepare our young people entering college to focus on their goal of graduating in timely fashion with the skills that are needed in this challenging job market. It is another way that we are retooling Connecticut's educational infrastructure to make it more practical and relevant to the real-world realities that our students are facing -- both when they enter college and when they leave."
"This isn't a problem that our K-12 education system or our public higher education system can fix alone," Robert A. Kennedy, President of the Board of Regents for Higher Education, said. "Working together, we must ensure that students are coming to our community colleges and universities better prepared, and that when they do need extra help, we provide it to them without exhausting their financial aid, and extending the time it takes to earn a degree."
Earlier this year, Governor Malloy, describing education as the civil rights issue of our time, championed a historic bipartisan education reform bill that invested more than $100 million dollars in Connecticut's public schools, with most of that funding going to struggling school districts. The reform plan also includes 1,000 new early childhood education slots, created a Commissioner's Network to turn around struggling schools, and implemented a new teacher and administrator evaluation system.