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    #76306 - 05/18/10 06:41 AM Bard High School Early College (NYT op-ed)
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2638
    Loc: MA
    A Very Bright Idea
    Published: May 17, 2010

    We hear a lot of talk about the importance of educational achievement and the knee-buckling costs of college. What if you could get kids to complete two years of college by the time they finish high school?

    That is happening in New York City. I had breakfast a few weeks ago with Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, to talk about Bard High School Early College, a school on the Lower East Side of Manhattan that gives highly motivated students the opportunity to earn both a high school diploma and a two-year associate of arts degree in the four years that are usually devoted to just high school.

    When these kids sail into college, they are fully prepared to handle the course loads of sophomores or juniors. Essentially, the students complete their high school education by the end of the 10th grade and spend the 11th and 12th grades mastering a rigorous two-year college curriculum.

    The school, a fascinating collaboration between Bard College and the city’s Department of Education, was founded in 2001 as a way of dealing, at least in part, with the systemic failures of the education system. American kids drop out of high school at a rate of one every 26 seconds. And, as Dr. Botstein noted, completion rates at community colleges have been extremely disappointing.

    Many bright and talented youngsters are lost along the way. “We seldom capture the imagination and energy of young people until somewhere well along in the college years,” said Dr. Botstein.

    A visit to the school is a glimpse into the realm of the possible. I stopped by on a gloomy, rainy morning, and the building’s exterior seemed fully in synch with the weather. But inside you’re quickly caught up in what seems almost the ideal academic atmosphere. In class after class, I was struck by how engaged the students were, and how much they reflected the face of the city.

    These were kids who had come to the school (mostly by subway) from every borough and from just about every background imaginable.

    The first class I visited was a college-level biology course. The students were deep into the process of dissecting fetal pigs. One of the students, who hopes someday to be a doctor, explained to me how essential it was for the students “to understand the organ systems in mammals.”

    In another class, a fiendishly difficult math problem was being worked out. When the class ended without the problem being brought to a satisfactory conclusion, the students groaned as if a movie had been interrupted at the climactic moment. The instructor assured them that “we’ll pick it up right here” the next time the class met.

    The Bard High School Early College model has been around long enough and has given a first-rate education to enough students to warrant significant expansion and close study to determine just how far this promising innovation might be able to fly. (A second school, Bard High School Early College Queens, opened in 2008.)

    Dr. Botstein would like to see 150 such schools created across the country, which would reach roughly 100,000 students.

    <rest of article at link>
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

    #76310 - 05/18/10 07:35 AM Re: Bard High School Early College (NYT op-ed) [Re: Bostonian]
    Katelyn'sM om Offline

    Registered: 10/22/08
    Posts: 1085
    Loc: Austin, TX
    Thanks for the article. There have been similar articles on this for different states. One state I remember is S. Carolina. What I find interesting is it is targeting lower income, high risk groups which I applaud but I have to wonder how much is being done for the gifted community and if this is yet another sign of the times where the logic is they are ahead of the game and don't really need programs like this in place.

    That said I do like the quote: "Many bright and talented youngsters are lost along the way. 'We seldom capture the imagination and energy of young people until somewhere well along in the college years,' said Dr. Botstein." It gives me hope.

    #76347 - 05/18/10 06:59 PM Re: Bard High School Early College (NYT op-ed) [Re: Katelyn'sM om]
    Austin Offline

    Registered: 06/25/08
    Posts: 1840
    Loc: North Texas
    Originally Posted By: Katelyn'sM om
    What I find interesting is it is targeting lower income, high risk groups which I applaud

    Still think it is all about IQ? Hard work and motivation are more important than anything else. High expectations set the tone.

    In such a school, a GT kid will thrive like no other.


    The idea should always have been to develop a flexible system of public education that would allow all — or nearly all — children to thrive. One of the things Bard has shown is that kids from wildly different backgrounds — including large numbers of immigrant children — can thrive in an educational environment that is much more intellectually demanding than your typical high school.

    Imagine that. Everything that is old is new again.


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