Seeking stronger pipelines, higher ed is getting more hands-on in K-12
- Some colleges and universities are partnering with K-12 districts and taking over public schools in cities including Los Angeles, New York and Baltimore, investing millions of dollars in resources to cash-strapped districts and low-performing schools, according to The Wall Street Journal.
- The institutions argue that their work in the K-12 schools is in large part centered around testing educational theories in the classroom, but the officials at the schools acknowledge that they also want to play a direct role in better preparing students who could conceivably enroll at their institution someday.
- Some institutions, like Purdue University, are forgoing working with school districts entirely and opening their own specialized schools in neighboring areas: The Purdue Polytechnic High School, for example, is scheduled to open this fall and will concentrate on STEM learning, with President Mitch Daniels saying he wants to boost the low number of Indianapolis Public School graduates attending his university.
Some college leaders and administrators maintain that it is essential, for a variety of reasons, to establish and support partnerships with the neighborhoods surrounding a school, and partnering with local school districts is one substantial path to doing so. In a March panel discussion at SXSWedu, Rutgers University-Camden Associate Chancellor for Civic Engagement Nyeema Watson spoke about how the school had previously been known for having a poor or non-existent relationship with the surrounding community. Over time, and with her urging, it has taken on initiatives and programs that have helped establish a strong relationship with the city while making postsecondary learning a tangible option for local students.
Many college administrators have expressed frustration that K-12 schools are not accurately preparing students for the challenges they will face in postsecondary classrooms, but for the universities partnering with districts or creating their own schools, they must ensure that the outreach is in place to offer those students support and guidance in the enrollment process. Many schools are burdened with a lack of sufficient support staff like counselors, and colleges and universities must ensure their investment covers all facets of building a pipeline to college success.
- The Wall Street Journal Urban Colleges Move Into K-12 Schools to Help Kids and Themselves