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Taking College Classes in High School Keeps Low Income Kids on Track

A new study shows that blending high school and college work can help motivated students from disadvantaged backgrounds thrive.

Dual high school/college programs that shorten the time it takes to earn a high school diploma and let students earn up to two years of college credit for free are growing in popularity. But the programs have more benefits than just saving cash-strapped families money. A new study from California's Community College Resource Center says students from low-income communities who participate in dual programs reap significant academic benefits.

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Pilot Program Aims to Level the Advanced Placement Playing Field for Low-Income Students

The College Board, which administers AP exams, is bringing AP courses to 200 under-served high schools across California.


With college tuition skyrocketing, one good way for students to cut costs is to earn college credit through Advanced Placement courses and exams in high school. But not all schools offer the same number of AP classes, and poor kids of color tend to have the least access.

In an effort to remedy this inequity, the College Board, which administers AP exams, is launching the California AP Potential Expansion, a pilot program that will bring AP courses to 200 under-served high schools across the Golden State. Teachers will participate in an intensive summer training institute and receive ongoing professional development. Participating schools—which must commit to offering at least one new AP course for each of three years—will also receive funding for textbooks and course materials through nonprofit partnerships. The program will identify what the College Board calls "diamond-in-the-rough" students who might develop their potential in AP classes.

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How Financial Literacy Classes Are Putting Students on the College Track

Financial literacy classes can help low-income kids see why they need the salary boost that comes from staying in school.


Could financial literacy be key to getting at-risk students interested in finishing high school and heading to college? At Avalon High, a 150-student continuation school that serves a majority low-income Latino population in Los Angeles, teens who weren’t successful in traditional high-school settings are learning the basics of budgeting, credit, saving, and investing in their futures.

"I see myself in these kids. I was one of them," says Frank Leon, a successful State Farm insurance agent who grew up in the community and teaches financial literacy classes to Avalon’s students as part of his company’s national Make It Possible initiative. Indeed, Leon knows the name of the corner store where the kids buy snacks after school, and he’s happy to explain the merits of putting money in a bank instead taking the risk of getting robbed after cashing a paycheck at the currency exchange.

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What Will Education Be Like in 100 Years?

An author from 1900 has a compelling vision for education that includes free universities and in-school medical care for all students.

Back in 1900, author John Elfreth Watkins, Jr. published in The Ladies Home Journal a series of predictions for life in the 21st century. Watkins' many predictions, which include "How Children Will Be Taught," were discovered on Chris Wild's blog How to be a Retronaut:

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Fifth-Year Senior: Why Making High School Longer Is a Brilliant Idea

Maine wants to accelerate the traditional secondary curriculum and bring introductory college courses down to high school.


After four years of high school, you were probably pretty ready to graduate. But what if you could have earned college credit if you stayed for a fifth year? Students in Maine might soon get the option to do just that. In order to ensure that the state is truly preparing the workforce of the future, governor Paul LePage followed up on a campaign promise this week and issued an executive order that creates a task force to study whether a five-year high school option can be implemented state-wide.

The five-year initiative would accelerate the traditional high school curriculum so that credits are finished more quickly, and bring introductory college courses—college English 101, for example—down to the high school level. Students who opt in to the five-year program would graduate with both a high school diploma and either an associate's degree or two years of credits that they can then transfer to the college of their choice.

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Developing Better Teachers by Training Them Like Medical School Residents

A new training program is educating teachers the way medical schools educate doctors. Can it help close America's persistent achievement gap?

Can the largest charter school organization in California close the achievement gap by revamping teacher training and ending the massive problem of high teacher turnover? The Aspire Public Schools Teacher Residency Program, a new teacher preparation initiative certainly wants to try. The program is approaching teacher education the way medical schools educate doctors—combining education theory, classroom practice, and intensive coaching and mentorship.

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