Education Reform Now’s (ERN’s) mission is to pursue education policies that enable all students, particularly students from low-income families and students of color, to obtain a globally competitive education that empowers them to fulfill their limitless potential. To do that, we are building a durable network of progressive champions, allies, and supporters across the advocacy and policymaking arenas to expand what works and change what is broken in the public education system, with the interests of students and families at the center of everything we do.
What challenge is this solution working to address?
Approximately one-third of students in grades 10–12 are actively disengaged from school, according to Gallup, far higher than in the earlier grades.9 Not coincidentally, one in four college freshmen who enter postsecondary education the fall immediately following high school graduation has to take at least one—and, on average, two—non-credit bearing, remedial courses in college.10 Over the longer-term, data show 68 percent of all students entering a two-year college and 40 percent of all students entering four-year colleges take a remedial course at some point.
In other words, the pipeline from high school to college is leaky. But it doesn’t have to be. Imagine a world where advancement to college is based on what students know, instead of a student’s age or the number of courses they take (i.e., “seat time”)—and where those ready for college-level work early can choose to fast track their postsecondary in education and save money in the process.
The primary fast track pathway would allow students to enroll in a full-time sequence of AP/IB courses or dual enrollment courses enabling them to graduate high school with at least the equivalent of a year’s worth of college credit, crucially with the assurance that those credits will apply toward a degree at any public college statewide. A second, alternative pathway would offer students the option to graduate high school early with a scholarship to enroll full-time in college. In either case, rather than waiting for senioritis to take hold, academically ready students would get a head start on college—at a discount—that could enable them to more quickly complete high school and a postsecondary degree and incur less student loan debt in doing so. Think of it as college in three years or high school in three years, for those who are capable and so choose.
This Solution Is Agile Because…
It will help create a clearer pathway for postsecondary success by capitalizing on existing funding structures to provide greater access to college coursework while in high school.