Friday, May 06, 2011

Leaving High School Early... With Credentials

The New York Times (hat tip to GE reader Twin Mom) had an interesting piece the other day about a program in Texas allowing kids who've demonstrated enough subject mastery to receive a certificate that can be traded in for a high school diploma. The standards for the certificate are set by the state's top two universities, Texas A&M and the University of Texas, and while it doesn't guarantee that a kid will be admitted to either, the idea is that the certificate shows she'd meet their criteria. That makes it a definite step above the GED (which adults can test for at later points in life) which, while certainly helpful for employment and community college enrollment, isn't treated quite the same as a diploma -- and certainly not a diploma that indicates you could have qualified for Texas A&M or UT.

I think this is a great idea, and I'm surprised the idea isn't more widespread. What is the point of high school, after all? Is it to impart to children a certain volume of knowledge (academics and citizenship) or is it a holding tank until they turn 18? If the former, then there's no reason that people who've demonstrated that they've learned what they're supposed to learn can't move on. Finishing high school early allows one to finish college early, and then pursue graduate education or other things, without the often compressed 20s timeline dragged on schooling offers.

Does anyone know of any other states looking into a similar idea?


Anonymous said...

Indiana is looking into. You can finish high school a year early and, on top, the state will give you the money that it would have spent on high school as a scholarship for its public university. It's part of Mitch Daniels new proposal.

atxteacher said...

Texas already has an early graduation option in place. If a student completes all the required credits early, then he/she may graduate early and the money that would have gone to the high school goes with the student to any university in state. The program is in jeopardy for next year due to our budget crisis. You can get the details here:

This certificate options seems interesting. I'm wondering if it's a way to get around accumulating all the required credits.