I have done a lot of projects with Ohio school districts and with the Ohio Department of Education over many years. But I never thought I wanted to live there. Now I would if I still had children in school. Here’s why.
This fall, Ohio will implement its own new version of a dual enrollment program: College Credit Plus, which will allow students in grades 7–12 to earn both college credits and high school credits at the same time by taking courses from two-year or four-year colleges. The courses can be taken at any Ohio public college or participating private college (though my guess is that most students will study at a nearby college) or can be taken online; some courses will be offered at high school facilities as well. If the college is public, the course is free (including books). If the college is private, the cost will be extremely low. All school districts are required to allow students to pursue these newly expanded college options.
Ever since I co-founded a public Early College high school in Brooklyn in 2009 (with Chris Aguirre and Marie Segares), which had a great partnership with CUNY’s New York City College of Technology, I have been impressed with and championed the Early College initiatives found nationwide. To be sure, Ohio has had a proud tradition of Early College high schools (thanks, in part, to the leadership and support of Andrea Mulkey and other staff members at EDWorks, a subsidiary of KnowledgeWorks). But now College Credit Plus seems to hold out a kind of Early College opportunity for all Ohio students.
Well, Early College high schools do provide a lot of academic and personal supports for their college-going students and likely will produce graduating seniors with more college credits than individual students will figure out how to get through College Credit Plus. Early College high schools also make it their business to see that more than just the brightest students are encouraged to pursue college study. That is one of the important principles of the Early College movement, which recognizes that sometimes students who are struggling in high school can actually do better in college. We saw that happen at our own Early College high school. It was unforgettable.
But Early College high schools are not everywhere. I wish they were. Maybe College Credit Plus is the next best thing. Congratulations, Ohio.
You can listen to our interview with Andrea Mulkey on NYCollegeChat here.