Early College Week

“I never thought about going to college. I never thought it was remotely possible, or that I was smart enough,” said Lauren Merrell, a senior at Toledo Early College High School on the campus of University of Toledo in Ohio. “Once I got the hang of actually having to commit to the work and having homework every night, I was fine. I was one of the first students to take a college class. Since then, I have taken more and more classes, and I love it.”

It’s Early College Week, apparently! I didn’t know there was a week dedicated to the topic. But, there is. Conceptually I like what they’re doing.  But, I do have some misgivings about the rationale that they’re using to sell its importance.

“Early College High School Week is our way of telling America we can educate all our students, and Early College has proven that,” said Dawn Cooper, Director of Early College Initiative in the P-16 Office of Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia. “Educating underrepresented students is about more than just social equity. It’s about making our collective workforce smarter, and our collective economy stronger and more secure.” (emphasis mine)

It’s not clear to me why social equity isn’t a sufficient goal.   Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for education leading to better workplace opportunities for all.  I’m just not sure it has to be explicitly rationalized in that manner.  But, whatever the motivation or rationale, anything that helps students pursue college who might not have otherwise done so is a positive thing in my book.  So, here’s to Early College Week!

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