CUNY Newswire

The New York Times: Ending the Curse of Remedial Math

June 12, 2017

Can you simplify this square root?” Erica Fells asks her class, and hands wave in the air. All but one of the students believe that it’s impossible to do so. The dissenter, Leslie Alcantara, lays out her argument. “What do the rest of you think of Leslie’s reasoning?” Ms. Fells asks, and after some back-and-forth, they agree — she’s correct.

These students have been admitted to one of the City University of New York’s community colleges. They didn’t score high enough on CUNY’s math, reading and writing tests to take the college-credit courses they must pass to earn an associate degree, so they were steered into a catch-up program called CUNY Start. Its track record shows that, with good teaching and I-have-your-back counseling, youths who otherwise would likely drop out have a solid shot at making it.