SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – A recent report shows nearly half of Illinois students enrolling in community college must pay for remedial classes to catch up on lessons they should have learned in high school.

“With the new Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test, Illinois is equipped to focus on the question f, How ready are our children for what’s coming next?” state Superintendent Tony Smith said, according to The Alton Telegraph.

“The postsecondary remediation data is an important tool to help us determine how much support our children need when they leave our care,” he said.

The data, released for the first time this year, show students need a lot of support.

In total, about 48.7 percent of nearly 40,000 Illinois high schoolers who graduated in 2013 and enrolled in community college needed remedial classes in at least one core subject, the Chicago Daily Herald reports.

“Illinois students had the highest remediation rate in math with 41.1 percent requiring additional preparation before advancing toward their degree, while 16.1 percent of students needed remediation in reading,” according to the news site.

The Telegraph pointed out the report shows two school districts where at least 33 percent of students enrolled in community college did not need any remediation. Of districts where at least 12 percent of graduates enrolled in community college, eight left at least 70 percent of students unprepared in math. At least eighty percent of students in five districts required remediation of some sort, according to the news site.

“Our state literally cannot afford to invest additional time and money for students to acquire the skills and knowledge they should have received during their preK-12 journey,” Smith said. “We must change that, and our new assessment system will help us better gauge students’ college and career readiness before they advance to the next grade level.”

The PARCC tests, which are linked directly to the national Common Core standards, are a hot issue with both parents and teachers, as many believe students. Teachers unions in Illinois and elsewhere also typically oppose efforts to link student performance on standardized tests to teacher evaluations as a means of holding educators accountable.

At least one commenter believes the data reflects poorly on the public school system, and serves as evidence that school choice options are sorely needed in the Land of Lincoln.

“These state show the state of Illinois has been hiding how bad local schools districts are across the state,” Lennie Jarratt wrote. “It is time for education choice in all school districts.”

Others blamed the situation on President George W. Bush’s education initiatives.

“The result of no child left behind,” John Steel wrote.

The “2015 Post-Secondary Remediation Report,” which is posted to the Illinois State Board of Education website, does not include data for students at four-year colleges or schools outside of Illinois. It also omits students who did not continue their education beyond high school, as well as schools where fewer than 10 students enrolled in community college, according to the Telegraph.

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