‘You didn’t finish high school? Start college!’

“You didn’t graduate from high school? Start college today!”  With that slogan, a low-income, nearly all Hispanic Texas school district is persuading dropouts to enroll in a center that lets them start job training while finishing high school, transitioning to college courses when ready. By the end of ninth grade, all students can choose a career pathway and take “early college” classes.

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  1. “rigorous ‘early college’ courses”

    Oh, yeah. Rigorous!

    These people couldn’t / wouldn’t pass nonrigorous high school classes and now they are going to pass rigorous college classes?

    Anyone stupid enough to believe this deserves what he gets.

    • There was a study that found 20% of high school dropouts actually had an IQ >120. My brother barely graduated high school despite having a high IQ and SAT scores. He had a very low tolerance for “busywork” and if he’d come from a different home, he very well might have dropped out of H.S. entirely. He went on to get excellent grades as a music technology major and a successful career as an audio engineer. He had the brains to do well in courses that interested him, he just didn’t have much patience for a standard high school curriculum. Our educational system needs to do a much better job at making sure these bright underachievers make the most of their potential.

      • Sean Mays says:

        CW: I’m behind you 100% on doing a better job – BUT, what fraction of students fall into this category? How many students with low ability and low aptitude are being sold a bill of goods – only to enter a situation where the outcome is likely to be poor? My gut tells me your brother is likely a minority, possibly a small one.

      • My brother has a very similar story to that of Crimson Wife. He is now an articulate and talented young man who is one of the youngest firefighters ever to attain his position. The biggest flaw in our education system is that it assumes everyone learns in the same manner. I thrived in the traditional school structure, but my brother was not impressed by busy work and often found the curriculum far too easy for him. Therefore, when not challenged, he acted out. The Texas School District may not be perfect, but I do applaud them for taking steps to move in another direction and try something new. At least they are thinking a bit outside of the box.

  2. There was a study that found 20% of high school dropouts actually had an IQ >120

    Another reason to ignore ‘studies’.

  3. Leaving aside the question of ability as measured by IQ, there is some sense — maybe a lot of sense in this paradigm. What it does is expose HS students to an educational environment (Community College) that values technical education, which high schools today don’t seem to do. If HS students who are lackluster about analyzing literature and quadratic equations get to take classes that are more in alingment with their interests (HVAC, pre-radiology tech, etc) what is so bad about that?

  4. If the student couldn’t hack four years of high school, what makes the author(s) of the study think they’ll be able to handle 2-4 years at a community college. Even if the students start, they’ll be so far behind the learning curve that most of them will drop out inside of a year or less when they find that all the courses they’ll take in their first year won’t even count towards a degree or certification of any sort.

    Another way to set people up for failure…

    • Students who lack the interest but not the brains for the standard H.S. curriculum may do much, much better in college courses related to what they actually want to do with their lives. My brother couldn’t have cared less about analyzing the themes in Shakespeare’s plays but he loved anything to do with music technology and audio engineering. He was the quintessential square peg in the round hole in H.S., but found his niche in college and beyond. I don’t think he is all that unusual.