Warranties for high school grads?

Virginia is considering a voluntary program that would offer warranties certifying the competence of its high school graduates.

State-supported colleges and universities spend nearly $25 million annually to bring freshmen up to speed through remedial coursework.

The idea under review by the State Council of Higher Education would shift the cost of the remedial studies to the high schools that failed to produce freshmen ready to tackle college-level work. Every student who graduates with at least a C average would come with a two-year warranty. If a college or employer finds the graduate needs remedial work, the school district would pick up the tab for the course.

An early draft of the warranty plan being considered would cover students who graduate with an advanced-studies diploma and a grade-point average of at least 2.5, midway between a C and B average. The program would be voluntary, but officials hope public support would encourage participation.

One-fourth of Virginia public high school graduates at the state's public colleges take at least one remedial course during their freshman year.

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