Remedial Educators Contest Reformers' 'Rhetoric of Failure'


Whitney Curtis for The Chronicle

Dorothy Perfecto (left), 
an accounting student 
at East Central College, 
in Missouri, says remedial courses made it possible 
for her to begin college 
at age 61.

Fewer than one in 10 community-college students who start in remedial courses completes an associate degree within three years. Nearly four in 10 fail even to finish their remedial sequences. Advocates for reforming remedial, or developmental, education often cite such statistics as evidence of a broken system. "A bridge to nowhere," they call it—one that just might need to be torn down.

But those who have dedicated their careers to helping underprepared students succeed in