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Opinion

Readers React: Education is worth the investment, even for students who fail their classes

WHITTIER, CA - AUGUST 27, 2014: Apolo Ayala, 18, of Whittier, left and Tiffany Guerra, 32, of Whit
Students in a class at Rio Hondo College in Whittier in 2014.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: The entire emphasis of the article about graduation rates in community colleges was that we need to increase the numbers of youth who graduate, because simply taking classes is insignificant. The article states that “everyone agrees that it is crucial to improve graduation rates.”

Who is “everyone,” and why is it that only graduation rates indicate success in learning? Why are we referring to non-graduation as a multimillion-dollar failure? Why do we believe that funds are wasted on students who do not pass all the classes needed to graduate?

I would posit that every course a person takes in community college enriches that person and, consequently, his or her role in the community. Education is an objective that is never wasteful. Consider that every person who enrolls in community college likely has graduation or transfer to a four-year college as a goal. However, despite all efforts, goals are not always achieved.

We must acknowledge that learning, by itself, is valuable.

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Sylvia Fogelman, Beverly Hills

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To the editor: The writer offers the same approach to education that has been used for years: Reward schools for high graduation rates. So what happens? It becomes much easier to graduate.

Instead, why not reward schools based on how well students do on standardized testing each year, starting in in elementary and through high school? If students fail, they repeat the year instead of being promoted.

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Many children are promoted to the next grade barely being able to read or do math. Does anyone really wonder why California students rank so low in both reading and language skills? Or why it takes some people six years to graduate from community college?

Bob Guarrera, Laguna Niguel

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