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Annual list of top schools show STEM, college-prep courses popular push

0610Cover_ASBJIf you want your schools to be on Newsweek’s annual best high school rankings, you might want to take a look at an early college program.

As much as educators grumble about Newsweek’s annual list of the top-ranked high schools—which was released this week—it’s clear that the schools near the top are really pushing the college-level curriculum, beyond Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate programs. And the list of the 20 public high schools deemed “too elite” to even be ranked because of their highly selective admissions processes reads like a directory of expensive college preparatory schools.

Many of these schools focus exclusively on science and technology-related subjects, the type of careers economists believe will have the most potential for growth and income in the future. Many of the top-ranked schools work hand-in-hand with local colleges and universities, and students graduate with a significant amount of college credits.

Not coincidentally, the June issue of American School Board Journal looks at the fast-growing early college movement and how it’s reshaping secondary education.

While it hasn’t yet made Newsweek’s rankings—as it only enrolls ninth and 10th graders so far–Rockingham Early College High School in Rockingham County, N.C., is one example. The rural area has few careers to offer its high school graduates—the textile and tobacco industries moved out years ago—but students there are able to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree if they stick with a rigorous program, my colleague Lawrence Hardy writes.

And there’s growing evidence that advanced programs such as AP and IB benefit even low-performing students, despite the high rates of students needing remedial education at colleges and universities.

“Once you create a culture in the high school that everyone can go [to college], then you know what teachers expect of kids, what kids expect of themselves, and what parents expect of kids,” researcher Thad Nodine told ASBJ.

Joetta Sack-Min, Associate Editor

Naomi Dillon|June 14th, 2010|Categories: American School Board Journal, Governance, Student Achievement|Tags: , , , |

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