Doing a better job of helping students catch up

Melinda French Gates, the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, gave hundreds of leaders of the nation’s community colleges a pep-talk and a talking-to on Tuesday.  The Foundation wants the colleges to do a better job of helping their students — 60 percent of whom need to take remedial classes — catch up. An excerpt:

“Either [community colleges] can keep doing what you’ve been doing, in which case you will gradually find yourself able to meet fewer and fewer of your students’ needs, or you can innovate,” she said. “You can educate your students according to new models that yield dramatically better results for a fraction of the cost.”

She also announced that the Foundation will award $53 million on top of the $57 million it has already spent to support innovative programs and encourage their diffusion.  (Full disclosure: the Gates Foundation is one of the supporters of The Hechinger Report.)

Richard Lee Colvin