Friday, December 31, 2010
Two Year Bachelor Degrees
Despite the feelings of Education Chief Arne Duncan to the contrary, for many students in the United States, the k-16 system is both too long and inefficient. It has always troubled me that I have students who take and pass four or five AP classes/exams during their junior year, and still have another year of school to meet state graduation requirements. That is not only inefficient and expensive, it's downright illogical and ridiculous. Thus, I have been pleased over the past two years as the state of Colorado has sought to expand dual-enrollment, which in many ways is a much better idea than even AP or IB. Though I still prefer the rigor of the College Board, I am miffed by the colleges who are increasingly stingy in what they will give credit for.
In some interesting news on this front out of the public schools in the nation's capital, two DC area schools are planning to offer, in conjunction with the University of DC, a two-year bachelor degree that students will complete after finishing a special program for the junior and senior years of high school. It's the basic idea of AP or dual-credit, in which kids take the rigorous general education requirements during high school - and get state graduation credit - and thus only have the higher level, degree specific courses. This is exactly the sort of forward thinking that the American education system needs - and which has been promoted by people such as Charles Murray, Newt Gingrich, and Jeb Bush.
Clearly, the DC public schools is really the last place I would expect to see this arise. It is obviously only for the most motivated students, and that is not most common on the lower socio-economic strata. Yet, if they find kids and teachers who can make it work - with no diluting of standards and expectations - this will be a good thing. And decreasing the overall cost for poorer kids is certainly an added incentive. Hopefully, this idea works and becomes a harbinger of change to come nationwide.