Pick any of the three: an apple, a blackboard or a one-room schoolhouse. No matter which you chose you’ve found an age-old icon for a traditional K-12 education.
These outdated views toward the classroom do not support the innovative perceptions that Sen. Greg Clausen, DFL-Apple Valley, and Sen. Carla Nelson, R-Rochester, intend to create by authoring a bill that increases funding for the state’s Postsecondary Education Options program.
PSEO programs let high school students enroll in college courses to earn credits for both college and high school. Part of this bill would let 9th and 10th graders pair with a local university to chisel away on their future college course load.
Minority students could especially benefit from the proposed $20 million expansion of this program. The graduation rate of Hispanic and African-American students who took PSEO classes jumped more than 20 percent over that of those who didn’t. This spike deals a crippling blow to the state’s achievement gap.
For students who smothered dreams of going to college because they thought they weren’t good enough, the PSEO program let them sample their ambitions in real time, without the consequences of a looming $30,000 student loan for tuition.
Furthermore, PSEO courses are state funded. Thus they diminish the economic burden for low-income students with college ambitions.
These types of programs broaden the scope of education systems.
If the investigative qualities of a student’s curiosity are limited to a public school classroom, then their ambitions will only reach the heights of motivational posters.