Community college's biggest problem?

Math.  Remedial math, that is.  But one community college tries the personal touch. From HechingerEd.

The biggest problem facing U.S. community colleges? Remedial math
Nationwide, a majority of incoming community college students find themselves in remedial courses after taking placement exams that show they didn’t master the basics many years before — or that they’ve forgotten the basics. Math has long proven a greater stumbling block than English for most of these students. Miller quotes Kay McClenney, director of the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas-Austin, as saying that remedial math “is without question the most significant problem facing American community colleges and maybe American higher education more broadly.” 
It is a problem so big, in fact, that it’s sometimes overlooked. In its immensity and obviousness, it falls victim to what could be called the “everybody-somebody-anybody-nobody mentality”: 
There’s an important job to be done, and everybody’s sure somebody’ll do it. Anybody can do it, but nobody does. Somebody gets angry because it’s everybody’s job. Everybody thought anybody could do it, but nobody realized everybody wouldn’t do it. Everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could’ve done. 
And so the problem continues and the costs mount. As Miller writes, the costs “can be calculated, not just in tuition dollars, but in degrees left unfinished and careers that never begin.”  
But Lansing Community College (LCC) — where over 5,000 students took a remedial math class last year — is determined to change this. According to Miller, LCC has “retooled a computer assisted self-study program meant to prepare students for that most basic remedial math course, adding a human being to the mix. Prior to the change, 3 percent of the students who used the program managed to place into Math 050. Since April, it has been 21 percent.”
And, in a move that might at first seem counterintuitive, LCC shut down its Math Lab. Miller explains: the Lab “let students work at their own pace with help from tutors. Barely half of them passed, which is why LCC closed the lab this summer and carried over the format into smaller classes taught by a single instructor. ‘Personal connections that students make with instructors are particularly important in developmental courses,’ [Kathy] Burgis [chair of the Math Department] said. ‘Ideally, those courses are about more than just the math. They’re about general transferable skills in going to college.’”


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