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A New Educational Model – Early College High Schools

According to the most recent figures from the National Center for Education Statistics, 68 percent of all high school graduates make it to a two- or four-year institution, but only 52 percent of low-income students do the same. Of poor students in four-year institutions, only 47 percent graduate within six years, compared with 58 percent of the general population.  The challenges are greatest for students whose parents did not attend any college: their graduation rate hovers around 40 percent.

Early college high schools seek to rectify that, by merging high school and some college. Students can earn both a high school diploma and an associate degree, and some are set on the path to a four-year degree. The schools have been praised for saving students money and time — most schools compress the academic experience into four years. Since 2002, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has provided more than $40 million toward initiatives. The Ford Foundation and the Carnegie Corporation of New York have also chipped in. President Obama is a proponent, speaking about early-college high schools in his State of the Union address to P-Tech, a public-private partnership that pairs the New York City public school system and the City University of New York with I.B.M., which promises graduates a shot at a well-paying job.

There are now more than 400 early college high schools across the country — North Carolina has 76 of them — educating an estimated 100,000 students.

Bard, a liberal arts college in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y., is at the vanguard of the movement, with a president, Leon Botstein, who has long chastised the American high school system for its inefficiencies.

The data indicate that early college high schools do work.  Shouldn’t more cities/states follow this model?

 

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