Program gives students a head start in the college game

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    Growing up attending a public school, I often found myself bored and frustrated when another movie was put on to entertain the class while we wrote down definitions from a textbook. A new program is being proposed that will help students who are more mature and intelligent to stop wasting their time and start working on their higher education credits.

    A handful of schools in eight states will allow students who have completed 10th grade to take a series of tests to get their high school diplomas. Once the students get their diplomas, they can immediately sign up for classes at a local community college for their first two years for free. I think that this is a great idea for high school students who often doodle on their notebooks because they are not being academically challenged.

    The proposed program is not just for students who want to get on with their education and start their careers at an earlier age. Most importantly, it is aimed at having students master basic requirements and at reducing the number of high school graduates who need remedial courses when they enroll in college. According to an article in The New York Times, more than one million college freshmen across the United States must take remedial courses. This can result in people spending more time and money than they planned for, which I think is a huge waste in today’s economy. Many students actually end up dropping out before they earn their degrees.

    “That’s a central problem we’re trying to address, the enormous failure rate of these kids when they go to the open admission colleges,” Marc S. Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy, a Washington-based nonprofit, told The New York Times.

    I think this is a problem because the percentage of high school and college dropouts is on the rise in America. Also, how are people supposed to earn good, stable jobs when they are not educated at a higher level?

    Some experts and parents raise the question about the maturity and experience level of the students who are thinking about graduating early.

    “Not every 16-year-old is ready,” said Meg Turner, principal of the Buncombe County Early College in Asheville, N.C., which is already trying the program. “Younger students, their brain development is different,” Turner said, according to ABC News.

    However, I believe that the students who want to graduate early should have to get permission to get their diplomas and enroll in community college classes. Some teenagers might not be ready to go on. If that is the case, then their parents can discuss whether or not they should wait and gain more maturity before attending college. With parent approval, I think this will be a more controlled way of allowing students to expedite their education and avoid unnecessary classes.

    Courtney Baker is a sophomore strategic communication major from Fort Worth.