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Improvements in Education

April 21, 1996

* The recent articles on the preparation of students entering the California State University have been of service in bringing a serious national educational problem to the public's attention. The problem is not new. The colonial colleges found it necessary to establish academies to prepare students for college work.

Cal State Northridge is engaged in several initiatives to reduce the number of students requiring developmental courses. We are making sure that high school teachers and administrators know what our expectations are. High school students are taking entrance exams early so that areas needing more work can be identified and remediated before they graduate. A group of faculty and administrators is working with teachers in the Grant and Van Nuys high school cluster to improve education at all levels. A new honors program will begin in the fall.

The emphasis on inadequate preparation has unfortunately eclipsed the success stories of the CSU, stories that frequently appear in The Times. Students taking developmental courses move into regular credit courses and perform at a level equal to those students not requiring developmental courses. Our graduates, who have been taught by distinguished faculty who are dedicated to teaching undergraduates, make contributions to every aspect of society.

NANCY J. OWENS

Owens is faculty president at Cal State Northridge

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