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Early-College High Schools Beat the Odds

Marlene B. Seltzer

Published by Education Week as the top online commentary on May 26, 2010:

As the nation tries to revamp a system that keeps far too many young people from succeeding, the 210 early-college high schools across the country are opening up higher education to a much more diverse group of students. Take North Carolina, for example: Half of its early-college high schools had no dropouts—zero—at a time when about 30 percent of high school students nationally fail to earn a diploma in four years, and when, in many states, barely half of African-Americans and Latinos graduate at all.

Texas also has invested in the “college in the high school” strategy. With 42 early-college high schools already in place, the state is also extending a tailored version of the early-college model to its regular district high schools. Several other statewide efforts are under way to integrate college coursework and academic expectations into high school.

Nearly 50,000 students in 24 states are enrolled in early-college high schools. Fifty-nine percent qualify for free or reduced-price lunch (a federal poverty measure), and 70 percent are students of color. Twenty-two percent of early-college graduates in 2009 earned a high school diploma and an associate degree, and 86 percent went on to some form of postsecondary education in the fall of that year . . .

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