The emergence of accelerated learning as a strategy to simultaneously motivate and challenge secondary students offers a prime example of reform driven by the need to better align schools and colleges with economic and social realities. Accelerated learning is a cluster of programs, such as Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual/concurrent enrollment, early college high schools, and Tech-Prep, unified by an overarching objective of making the “border” between high school and college or the workforce more crossable.
In June 2006, approximately 250 stakeholders—elected leaders, educators, researchers, and foundation officials—assembled in Atlanta for a first-of-its-kind gathering on accelerated learning. Accelerated Learning: Shaping Public Policy to Serve Underrepresented Youth, sponsored by Jobs for the Future and the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, marked an important evolutionary step for this adaptive innovation, connecting often disconnected conversations and providing a venue to identify and debate key issues and catalyze further research. Postcards from the Margin is a summary and analysis of the forum.