My path to college and career was a narrow and unlikely success story. I attended low-performing elementary and secondary schools in San Francisco, and none of my family went to college. A high school math teacher encouraged me to go to a small townwide summer conservation program that would then offer me admission to a select private school scholarship – something my family would never have afforded or even considered sending me. There, my college academic preparation was first class.
Even so, I still almost fell off my way to college. The school wasn’t in the habit of advising first-generation students who needed targeted coaching and guidance for college admissions and financial aid आणि and I couldn’t back down on the advice of parents who had navigated the college selection process themselves. After that, it was a challenging experience to see the unseen vision of Boston University across the country. It took me several months working in temporary jobs in Boston and losing a semester to get into the program I wanted and get financial help. The college was pretty promising at the end, but the barriers to admission felt overwhelming.
Later, as a leader in programs that helped me, I met many students whose dreams were shattered by the myriad obstacles that stood in the way of college and careers.
For millions of students from low-income backgrounds, the change in the number of workers from college or high school is a high, sometimes incomparable, climb. This transition may look more like a hill: the support and structure of the high school has collapsed, making it clear that students must somehow cross it alone. At times more than that 4.6 million young Americans It’s time to rethink whether the traditional boundaries between high school, college and workers, whether working or not in the 16 to 24 age group, are serving this new generation of students.
Because, just as useful to me, funding programs that help students find their way through selective learning opportunities is not a solution that can work anywhere near the scale needed to serve millions of disadvantaged students. Travel as I once did. Students today must have many paths from education to career – and the educational experiences that shape employee success must begin long before high school graduation.
In many ways, these are arbitrary boundaries Is already beginning to fade. For example, as early as 2010, 15 percent of community college admissions (or a total of 1.4 million students) were still in high school, thanks to an increasing number of double-enrollment programs. In some states, the share was as high as 37 per cent. And since then, several states have sought to increase double enrollment. More than 7,100 Texas high school students earned associate degrees in the 2018-19 academic year, and many of them include industry certificates.
In various states, such as Indiana, New Jersey, and Louisiana, more and more students are graduating from allied high schools. In Massachusetts, the partnership between Public Charter School and Massachusetts Community College allowed more than half of its recent Senior class to graduate With an associate of arts degree, this means they can already transfer to many colleges and universities as juniors.
At a time when most community colleges are suffering enrollment losses, Community College of Vermont Increased its registration Through one program, 34 percent gave each graduate high school senior the opportunity to enroll in a course for free.
This “ambiguity” of secondary and post-secondary education could point to a new way forward: a model that is not a high school or community college but a combination of two that saves students time and money, while offering them new types of guidance and preparation for a career. Think of it as a school focused on 11th to 14th grades, combining the basic curriculum of 11th and 12th grades with the knowledge, skills and credentials needed for today’s career.
To many education leaders and policymakers, this approach may seem radical – at least for now. But we can still take important steps to promote this shift and better prepare students for today’s workforce.
Perhaps motivated by the growth of double enrollment, for example, state education and labor force policymakers can promote a more holistic approach by standardizing high school and post-secondary credit. They can work to synchronize high school and local community college schedules, making it easier for students to enroll and getting credit from both. They may also need guided routes starting from the 11th grade that enter college, as well as provide more internship and work-based learning opportunities for 16- to 20-year-olds.
Aligning assessments with community college admissions will ensure that more students pursue post-secondary education. A score that passes the statewide high school assessment, for example, can automatically enroll students in public community colleges without remedy. This is already happening; For example, California high school students can now use their Smart Balance test scores for placement in credit-bearing college courses without taking SAT or ACT.
It remains to re-imagine the division between K-12, higher education and the workforce. For a long time, our education and training system has been stuck in the industrial age concepts of adolescence, education and work. The reality is that the lines are starting to get blurry and blurry, in this case, maybe even better.