State board revises tougher new college entrance rules
GOLDEN, Colo. – Colorado officials decided Tuesday to go ahead with tough new college entrance requirements next year but agreed to soften higher standards set to go into effect in 2010 after educators said they were unreasonable.The state Commission on Higher Education approved the higher standards in 2003 after colleges complained too many students needed remedial classes in English, math and other required subjects.But many rural school districts and some urban ones said they don’t have enough teachers to meet the 2010 standards. Some said they cannot even meet next year’s rules.Balancing actDwight D. Jones, the new state education commissioner, said public schools support the new standards going into effect next year, but he warned raising them again in 2010 would trap some students, especially those in rural communities, where the additional courses and the teachers to teach them might be unavailable.”In essence, we will have set these students up to fail,” he told the commission.Jones suggested the commission go ahead with the 2008 standards but modifying the 2010 standards.The state Department of Higher Education also proposed granting waivers for districts that cannot meet the standards and allowing some colleges to lower the requirements. The commissioners agreed to study that proposal at their next meeting.Rep. Rob Witwer, R-Genesee, sent a letter to Higher Education Commission Director David Skaggs protesting the proposed modifications. Witwer told the commissioners students need to be ready to take part in a global economy, and he believes lowering standards is not the answer.”I would urge you in the strongest possible terms not to roll back standards,” he said.However, Rep. Mike Merrifield, D-Manitou Springs and chairman of the House Education Committee, said the proposed tough standards are out of date and misguided. He said forcing students to take courses they don’t want stifles creativity and competition needed for the 21st century.”We should be increasing arts requirements for college admissions,” Merrifield told the commissioners.
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