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Report: How to Blur the Line Between High School and College

August 3, 2021
 
 

Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit focused on education and the workforce, released a report Tuesday that argues for a “radical restructuring of education for grades 11-14.” It advocates for a new kind of education institution that is neither high school nor college starting after the second year of high school. These institutions would combine coursework from the last two years of high school with "the more specific education and training of community college" to train students for future careers. Students would graduate with a certificate or associate degree.

The report suggests that such an option would eliminate a barrier to college completion by removing the sometimes fraught transition between high school and college and would help prepare students for the workforce starting at age 16.

JFF vice president Joel Vargas, a lead author of the report, said broadening college access means not being “hidebound by traditional thinking on the high school-to-college-to-career transition.”

“Instead, we should recognize that young people today need a multiplicity of pathways from education into careers -- not just the options created more than a century ago,” he said in a press release.

The report shares recommendations for incentives that would encourage institutions to embrace the new model and changes to governance and staffing structures that would help them put the model into practice, according to the authors. It also offers more incremental suggestions for policy makers to make the transitions between educational stages more seamless for students. For example, it recommends coordinating local high school and community college schedules to support dual-enrollment students and allowing a passing score on statewide high school tests to be grounds for admission to local community colleges.

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