Public Schools Don’t Teach Basic Academic Skills

Published December 1, 2000

“Most of the students who come to us not only lack math and English skills, but they lack basic academic skills. They have no idea what is expected of them at the college level. They don’t know how to take notes. They don’t read the assigned material. And many of them don’t even come to class.

“How did they get through high school without these skills? Many of them were promoted for social reasons–they were getting too old; they had repeated the grade three times; they would otherwise fail-out. So they graduate without the skills they need to succeed, not only in academics, but in the workplace.

“Local employers often find the same problems with their employees that we are addressing here–truancy, lack of attention to detail, inability to complete tasks.

“I remember one student who called me complaining that she had received an ‘F’ in a course even though she had attended every day. She didn’t understand that she actually had to master the basic course material. That was foreign to her.”

Janet Detloff
Chair, Math and Sciences Division
Wayne County Community College