JLF’s Terry Stoops reports here on the sad fact that huge percentages of incoming freshmen to North Carolina’s community colleges don’t possess basic skills and, thus, enroll in remedial classes.

While the NCCCS should be congratulated for their efforts, they ultimately have little control over the underlying cause of the problem — recent graduates from North Carolina high schools that lack basic literacy and math skills. Ultimately, the remediation rate is a reflection of the quality of a broad and vital segment of the state’s high school graduates. And taxpayers should be troubled by the fact that over 14,000 of them enrolled in one or more remedial courses in a North Carolina community college during the 2013-2014 academic year. NCCCS officials report that their colleges set aside approximately 10 percent of their respective budgets for remedial courses.

Finally, the remediation rate should call into question another indicator of student performance, the graduation rate. Last year, the N.C. Department of Public Instruction announced that the statewide graduation rate was 83.9 percent, the highest recorded rate in the state’s history. Fortunately, there is broad consensus among lawmakers, state education officials, and taxpayers that our public schools must focus on increasing the quantity and quality of high school graduates. The vitality of our state’s economy depends on it.