Phi Beta Cons

A Liberal Solution for Lousy Performance

North Carolina’s community colleges used to force 69 percent of all recent high-school graduates entering academic programs to take remedial courses. This was very costly to the state, and the failure by remedial students to complete either their remedial classes and or the subsequent entry-level non-remedial math and English classes greatly reduced enrollment in academic classes. Perhaps more important, the poor performance of high-school graduates on the exams used to determine a need for remediation was making the powerful K–12 school system look bad. What the state’s educational establishment needed was a way to have fewer students take remedial classes without all that messy stuff needed to improve their skills.

The solution? Lower the hurdles! Instead of testing the math and English skills of all students who enter community colleges, students who had at least a 2.6 GPA in high school won’t have to be tested. This way, fewer students will be forced into remedial programs, and the K–12 establishment will have that embarrassing statistical stain removed from the public eye. Of course, this ignores the fact that at many high schools today, you can be almost functionally illiterate and get a 2.6 average. And that fact that students who really need remediation will not be getting it.

Most Popular

National Security & Defense

So Long to the Iran Deal

Almost immediately after the news broke that President Trump intends to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director Mike Pompeo, media figures speculated that the decision was about Russia. The argument went like this: Tillerson was fired because he had recently criticized the Russian government ... Read More


EMPIRICAL   As I can fathom neither endlessness nor the miracle work of deities, I hypothesize, assume, and guess.   The fact that I love you and you love me is all I can prove and proves me. — This poem appears in the April 2 print issue of National Review. Read More

Nancy MacLean Won’t Quit

One of the biggest intellectual jousting matches last year was between Duke history professor Nancy MacLean, who wrote a slimy, dishonest book about Nobel Prize–winning economist James Buchanan and the whole limited-government movement, and the many scholars who blasted holes in it. If it had been a boxing ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Rolling Back Dodd-Frank

The Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that would roll back parts of Dodd-Frank. The vote was 67–31, with 17 members of the Democratic caucus breaking party lines. If the legislation passes the House and is signed, it will be the largest change to the controversial financial-reform package since it became law in ... Read More

How Germany Vets Its Refugees

At the height of the influx of refugees into Germany in 2015–17, there was little doubt that mixed among the worthy cases were economic migrants taking advantage of the chaos to seek their fortunes in Europe. Perhaps out of instinctive pro-immigrant sentiment, Germany’s Left obscured the difference. Its ... Read More
National Security & Defense

Leave McMaster Be

About every two months, there are rumors that Gen. H. R. McMaster might be let go as Trump’s national-security adviser (along with many other stellar appointees). The world, however, is a much more logical and predictable place than it was 14 months ago. We’ve restored ties to the Gulf monarchies; Israel ... Read More