New York Needs to Learn From North Carolina

Other cities and states are discovering the value of connecting ordinary high school students with colleges.
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In New York City, University Heights High School is being evicted from the Bronx Community College campus because the college is overcrowded. Pioneering programs including the High School for Math, Science, and Engineering at The City College and the Baruch College Campus High School in Manhattan, Middle College High School at LaGuardia Community College in Queens, Middle College High School at Medgar Evers and the High School for the Sciences located at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, face similar fates.

At the same time, other cities and states are discovering the value of connecting ordinary high school students with colleges. In Raeford, North Carolina, high school seniors from SandHoke Early College High School are taking classes at Sandhills Community College. The program is designed to attract students whose parents do not have college degrees and allows the students to earn up to two years of college credit tuition free. North Carolina now has a total seventy early-college high schools that target at-risk students.

The Gates Foundation, which has supported the Bloomberg-Klein small schools initiative in New York City, helps fund two hundred similar high school-college partnerships in the United States. Most are located on college campuses. In 2004-05, the City University of New York spearheaded the initiative. However, the report complained of the "New York City Department of Education's inability to guarantee particular locations for new schools."

A recent report from a non-profit group affiliated with the Gates Foundation found that in the established programs had daily attendance rates of 94%, higher student proficiency on math and reading tests, high school graduation rates of 92%, and forty percent of their graduates had earned at least a year of college credit.

Students at University Heights High School are continuing their fight to save their school. They are organizing to speak at public hearings and lobbying public officials. I think they need to make a direct appeal to Bill Gates. Maybe he can come up with money to pay their rent.

In the meantime, New York City, especially its Mayor and Schools Chancellor, need to learn from North Carolina.

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