Matthew Goldstein, chancellor of the City University of New York, said his team has been in close communication with the Department of Education but there is still much work to be done to reduce the number of New York City high school students who need remedial classes before they can enroll in one of CUNY's four-year colleges.
"I am not pointing fingers," he said Wednesday on The Brian Lehrer Show. "What I think we need to do is just communicate and make sure that the teachers, the curricula at the schools, understand that they need to be aligned with what the expectations are at a university."
Goldstein said the system boasts higher enrollment, retention rates and graduation rates now than at the beginning of his 14-year tenure.
But at least one critic wasn't convinced. "The chancellor has just misrepresented statistics about graduation rates, SAT scores, and racial balance, not to mention the role of faculty in implementing the Pathways reforms forced upon the system. His legacy will be a watering down of the value of all CUNY degrees," wrote Mary McGlynn on wnyc.org.
Goldstein dismissed critics of Pathways, a system that makes it easier for students to transfer from community colleges into four-year programs.
"It is not where you start, it's where you end up with a degree," he said, arguing that graduating classes of the four-year programs are more racially mixed than the entering classes because of students who transfer in after remediation.
The chancellor took the job in 1999 with the goal of consolidating disparate campuses and institutions affiliated with CUNY. He raised standards, raised private fundraising goals and added faculty.
One of his proudest achievements, he said, was the opening of Macaulay Honors College, which receives about 10,500 applicants and accept only 400.
"It's a wonderfully diverse group of students and it's a great shot in the arm to the university system," he said.