High School Students Earning College Degrees?

Reilly Van Dyke, Staff Writer

Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, NY has flakes of green paint peeling from the third floor windowsills. If you were to go inside, you would see that some of the desks are taped, others decorated in graffiti. While this school and its surroundings in Crown Heights, Brooklyn may look rundown and unkempt, the students attending the institution may be the best prepared for the future of this country.
Offering a combination of high school and college programs, students at this vocational school have the opportunity to complete a six-year program that will prepare them for a job in the technology industry.

According to the New York Times, by 2017, the first group of students attending Pathways in Technology Early College High School (otherwise known as P-Tech) will be graduating with associate’s degrees in applied science in computer information systems or electromechanical engineering technology.

This is a benefit to the students because they will be entering an economy in a society that requires exemplary skills in math, science and technology for most careers. However, there has been some controversy over this school. One has to question whether or not these students should have to go to college like students from other high schools. Furthermore, if the school is able to offer college level courses to these students, why isn’t the school itself in better condition?

Considering the fact that some of the other schools in this area are failing due to poor performance, this school could be seen as a way to give kids an opportunity to succeed in areas where they might not be able to otherwise. With college expenses rising every year, this gives students the ability to acquire critical thinking and presentation skills in an area of study in which they may be interested.

While each student has a 10-period schedule every school day, they can take their technology classes, while still meeting state requirements by taking english, math and social studies classes in between their other ones. The State Board of Regents is also trying to create a new set of exams for this school in order to assess the student. These new exams may be able to replace the regular Regents exams given.

As stated by reporter Al Baker from the New York Times, Students that graduate from this school may be able to enter fields in the technology industry that would earn them starting salary positions of around $40,000 a year.

Every student is also paired with a mentor and given the opportunity to travel to technology facilities. They get to work with companies and see things like how computer chips are made.

Maybe one of the greatest benefits to the students who attend this school is that they are getting to have a more hands-on and interactive experience than a regular school might offer. One could argue that this not only makes school more interesting and more fun, but allows students to practice and demonstrate the skills that they’ll need in the work place at a much younger age.

New York City is planning to open two more P-Tech schools within the next year that will focus on other prospering industries, especially healthcare. By September 2014, a fourth school should be opened. So while this perhaps isn’t the most traditional school, there’s something to be said for the fact that these students may be gaining the beneficial advantage of all—not only that they’ll have jobs, but that maybe they’ll be more prepared for the real world than graduates from other schools.

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