MDRC in the News

Students Earn AA Degrees and Job Offers as Grads from IBM Supported High Schools

Op-Ed by Tom Vander Ark


In 1974, LaGuardia Community College opened the first Middle College Program. Students took a combination of high school and college courses. The mature setting of a college campus and opportunity to earn college credit while in high school became a successful alternative model that spread to dozens of locations around the country. 

Building on Middle College success and leadership from Bard High School Early College, the Gates Foundation, Dell Foundation and Carnegie Corporation launched the Early College High School initiative in 2002. Eight partners supported by JFF set out to create 280 high schools where students could earn up to two years of college credit. A decade after foundation funding ended, the initiative has doubled in size, proved successful, and seems poised for growth.

In 2011 IBM infused work experiences and employment opportunities into the model and supported the development of Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH). With founding principal Rashid Ferrod DavisIn and in partnership with CUNY and City Tech, New York City Department of Education opened the first P-TECH school in Brooklyn. Six more P-TECH schools were opened in New York between 2013 and 2015. There are now 41 P-TECH across the state…

MDRC recently released an evaluation of New York City P-TECH schools that showed that most students begin college coursework in tenth grade and that students accumulate more credits than students in other schools. They also take and pass New York state tests earlier and at higher rates than other students. 

The evaluation also found that all of the P-TECH schools focus on workplace skills such as good work habits and interpersonal skills…

…P-TECH is the promise of high tech work experiences while gaining accelerated and affordable access to college. It’s an innovation that should be available to every high school student.

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