In “Well Educated Flock to Some Cities, Leave Others Behind” the New York Times focused on the failure of cities like Dayton, Ohio to keep up with changing economics and demographics. While there is certainly some validity to the notion of college graduates leaving an urban area because of lack of job opportunities, sometimes it is simply a matter of making sure college is more accessible to more students. Deborah Howard, Chief Innovation Officer for EDWorks Partners, suggests the following in her comment:
Over the past 10 years, KnowledgeWorks and its subsidiary, EDWorks, have helped launch more than 30 early college high schools — the Dayton Early College Academy was the first of those innovative schools, followed almost immediately by early college high schools in Youngstown, Lorain County and Toledo–more “Rust Belt” locations. We believe early college high schools may be THE answer to increasing the number of college graduates in similar cities. The data are compelling. Some 30% of students graduate high school in four years with a high school diploma AND 60 hours of college credit or an Associate’s Degree; another 50% earn between one and two years of college credit during their four-year high school experience. These students are not the ones you find in most AP classes. Sixty-five percent of the students are from low income households and are the first in their families to attend college; 71% are students of color. They are highly motivated students who have not had success in the traditional classroom, but who, given the right structures and supports, can and do achieve at high levels.
Strong higher education and K-12 partnerships create and sustain these schools. More and more often, a coroporation or research laboratory specializing in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) join the partnership, preparing students not only to complete a four-year degree, but to do so in areas where our nation has some if its greatest needs.