High Schools in 8 States Try Early Graduation

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Eight states are implementing a radical new program in high schools for next year that will allow students to graduate early and enter into two-year community colleges, if they pass the right tests. We speak to a top education official and a high school teacher involved in the program to find out how the program will work.

The eight states are Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Kentucky. Terry Holliday is Kentucky’s Education Commissioner and he is currently trying to recruit up to twenty high schools in his state to start the program. He believes it will keep students interested in their education and prevent them from dropping out.

Lauren Carbonell, is a High School Teacher at Quinebaug Valley Middle College High School in Danielson, Conn. Her school already allows students to take community college classes, and she says, "for a lot of kids it has worked. They feel they've been pushed and they're getting a lot out of it."

Guests:

Lauren Carbonell and Terry Holliday

Hosted by:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

David J Fazekas

Comments [16]

sue from indiana

i think that graduationg early is a moraculous idea. im about to graduate high school early myself and im thrilled to get that opportunity to do so. i agree that grade 10 is a little young but its the way of societys decision

Apr. 23 2012 11:20 AM
Amy Lund from MA

I was surprised myself, like Abbe and Alyse, not to hear mention of Simon's Rock during this discussion. I just happened to be listening on my way to work this morning and am a graduate of SR. I have run into many people over the years who are not aware of the options available "outside" the normal systems. I don't feel I was "smarter" than other students my age, but I think that having an alternative learning experience did work for me. I think that students, and their parents, should be made more aware of the possibilities for their education as well as other opportunities. I have been watching the current Olympic competition and see the potential of some extraordinary athletes of the same young ages who have been given opportunities. Emotional maturity is something that can come with age and experience, is also an issue that varies person to person and, I regret, I don't always see in older students or adults who go through "normal" systems.

Feb. 19 2010 09:57 AM
Evelyn Milian

My 16 year son is currently in a program in Doral, Fl. called AAA (Academy for Advanced Academics) at Florida International University.
He takes 3 college courses and High school classes.
We are glad that the public school system offer this opportunity.

Feb. 19 2010 09:49 AM
Charlie Esser from Newark, NJ

The problem with early graduation isn't for the early graduates, it's for those who don't opt to accelerate their learning.

Once graduating highschool your sophmore year becomes common place, those who take a full four years will be seen a slow on the jump, and will be penalized for it.

Generally Speaking, smart kids are going to do fine regardless of whether they take a leisurly four years to get their diploma or two. But once taking four years becomes a stigma, no child will want to be left behind. And for many I imagine those extra two years of maturity and broad knowledge come in handy in later life, not to mention just the reduction of stress of having to choose your future career path by the time you are 16.

Feb. 18 2010 01:22 PM
Loren from Darien CT

When I said "the world doesn't run on intellectuals" it wasn't an anti-intellectual statement although I'm against pursuing academics to the exclusion of other endeavors and outlets.

Feb. 18 2010 10:44 AM
Loren Gomez from Darien, CT

I skipped my senior year and attended an early college. While the academic education I received was stellar, there were social challenges during, and after my experience there. Students were applauded for being special and bright, but, other than the "safe sex" lecture, nothing was done to address the adult choices that suddenly felt open to us or the challenge of adapting to a working world that doesn't stop to coddle precocious kids with their own manifestos. Now, about fifteen years after graduating (at 20) it pains me to see how so many fellow students have fallen through the cracks. When I graduated, it took some stern words and real talk (yes, like I was still a kid- which I was) from my parents to help me develop into a more employable person. Th faculty at our college treated students as if they were bright enough to know better, when they really should have spoken to use like we were mature enough to know the truth- that life isn't A+'s and gold stars- it comes with some failur and disappointment (which many high achievers never experienced) that adapting, and even conforming, could be required to move ahead, and that, no, fifteen wasn't an ideal age to choose a sexual partner, a drug of choice, or a tattoo. Looking back, I couldn't see what another year of high school would have done, but I really would have appreciated honest advice and more direct guidance from the faculty at my college. Too many of them celebrated our rebellions and set false expectations of the world ahead. The world doesn't run on intellectuals- it runs on people who, first, function well and can complete an honest day's work on any level. Dismissing the ned to develop those attributes is, for anyone, a mistake. I'm all for the new program if it comes with more concrete advice and assistance to help students adapt and prepare themselves to seize opportunity in their future.

Feb. 18 2010 10:31 AM
abbe kanner from Ft. Lauderdale , Florida

Simon's Rock (now affiliated with Bard College in upstate New York) has been around since the 60s. The concept of Simon's Rock was to offer an early college experience to high school students who were ready for more. They offered the chance to graduate early with a baccalaureate degree and go on to finish up at a 4 year school. It was THE BEST educational experience I have ever had and I can attest to the fact that it works! However, students accepted to such a program need to be academically ready and sufficiently motivated to make it work.

Feb. 18 2010 10:07 AM
June Behbahani

My 11th grader is currently in a program in Miami-Dade FL called SAS ( School of Advanced Studies). She takes 3 College courses and 3 High School classes. Even with this she takes AP (advanced placement) high school classes that allow her to test for college credit in that course. Obviously she is ready for college and it is great that this is available through public school.

Feb. 18 2010 09:56 AM
Scott Mendelsohn from New York City

I have to agree with Alyse - a little research would have made for a much better interview, especially since the programs described only allow admittance to community colleges.

The US government recognizes that gifted students needing extra services. There is also good research that shows gifted students who don't get the challenge they need are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs and other acting out.

A more important question is how do we start to create a school system that values education and achievement? Then we wouldn't need to rescue our future leaders from the communities that need their insights.

See the attached article on Wikipedia, Rationale for gifted education:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale_for_gifted_programs

Feb. 18 2010 09:56 AM
Scott Mendelsohn from New York City

I have to agree with Alyse - a little research would have made for a much better interview, especially since the programs described only allow admittance to community colleges.

The US government recognizes that gifted students needing extra services. There is also good research that shows gifted students who don't get the challenge they need are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol, drugs and other acting out.

A more important question is how do we start to create a school system that values education and achievement? Then we wouldn't need to rescue our future leaders from the communities that need their insights.

See the attached article on Wikipedia, Rationale for gifted education:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rationale_for_gifted_programs

Feb. 18 2010 09:55 AM
Selina from harlem

I feel that the 11th and 12th grades are unnecessary for students who can demonstrate an ability to think independently and analytically and have the requisite level of emotional maturity. For these students the last two years of high school are tedious and torturous, send them to college!!

Feb. 18 2010 09:17 AM
Jennifer from New York

I would have killed for this option. At 15 or 16, I was eager for a greater academic challenge than high school could provide. Instead, I stayed in high school for an extra 2 years, completed lots of outside reading, annoyed my classmates by asking "weird" questions in class (actually questions meant to go more in depth), and graduated with the most AP classes completed for my year.

I will say that at 16, I probably would have ended up studying different subjects than I ended up studying when I went to college at 18. I also would have stayed closer to home if I had started college at 16, and thus been denied the opportunity to study in a different region of the country at my dream college.

Feb. 18 2010 09:13 AM
kirsten Lewis from Clinton, MA

I graduated high school early, in 1987, and went to Hampshire College. It was a good experience for me. I found high school to be a very difficult environment for me, but blossomed both intellectually and socially in college. I believe that high school students who are ready for college at 16 will take the ball and run with it.

Feb. 18 2010 09:09 AM
Barbara Benson from Middletown, N.J.

In my opinion, senior year is one year too many, frequently turning into a party year with minimal academic requirements left. Way back in 1973, I left high school after my junior year without graduating, and entered my freshman year at Rutgers Universitym living on campus. I tried to convince my three daughters to do the same, but they chose to stay in high school. As with me, most of their academic requirements were met by the time senior year rolled around. With all three, they were bored, tired of school, and probably fell into some bad habits.

Feb. 18 2010 08:35 AM
Chris Hale from Sleepy Hollow

Immaturity an issue? Are you kidding me - I was more mature at age 15 then I was at 25. And I owe my slide to my choices I made hanging out with my peers and being the life of the party.

My grandmother and my wife's mother both graduated high school and went to college at 15. They turned out fine.

I've been saying for years that junior and senior year in high school should be removed - my solution - keep the extra curriculars and general structure of school, but make those two years a vocational requirement for all - no private school exceptions. During these two years, the students will work in factories (for food no money) and manufacture our clothes and all other Walmart items. It solves a lot of issues - we have cheap labor, students have to cram more in the first 10 years of school which will properly challenge them instead of lowering the bar that is missed. We will compete with China and all would be good. Then the kids can go to school and party their little hearts out because although I did not mature between 15 and 25, I sure as hell had a good time.

Thank you,

Chris

Feb. 18 2010 08:13 AM
Alyse

Today's story on early graduation seemed under-researched. There was no mention of Simons Rock - an early college founded by Bard College in 1966. There was no mention of all the early college schools in NYC - Bard High School Early College, or STAR High School Early College - both of which serve students who are ready to move on more quickly than some of their 15 year old peers. You could have referenced the piece in your partner, The New York Times, earlier this week about an early college program for at-risk youth. These programs have proven track records that should have been noted for context in today's piece rather than presenting this concept as entirely new. Questions about whether early college would lead to more drinking or 15 year olds with credit card debt suggested that you didn't even get the difference between going to community college and living in a freshman dorm. Had you done your homework you could have brought far more insight to your feature.

Feb. 18 2010 07:54 AM

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