Educators and business leaders were students Monday as they began work on creating 16 more P-TECH schools across New York. The model of education has been praised by the president and it's now spreading in hopes of strengthening local economies. Innae Park explains.
ALBANY, N.Y. – “It's going to turn around the economic circumstances in the state,” said IBM Corporate Citizenship Vice President Stanley Litow.
It sounds like a business model, but in fact, Litow says education is what's paving the way for a stronger economy. That's the hope of 'Pathways in Technology Early College High School,' or P-TECH, a six year high school in Brooklyn started by IBM and the City University of New York (CUNY). It's now the model for more than a dozen schools planned across New York.
“The idea of grade nine to 14, where students will complete not only with a high school diploma, but an associate's degree and first in line for jobs at companies like IBM and others, really says that we can turn high school around,” said Litow.
The public-private partnership connects a school district, a local college and an employer that will give preference to P-TECH graduates when looking for future employees.
State Education Commissioner Dr. John King explained, “One of the worries is that we even as we have growing tech job opportunities, we're not always filling them with students who go to local schools. So this is a bridge between what our students need and the demands of the workforce.”
The state has set aside over $4 million in its budget to set up these schools. By fall 2014, there will be a total of 21 P-TECH type schools in New York.
Ballston Spa Central School District Superintendent Dr. Joseph P. Dragone said, “The whole continuum really makes good sense.”
His district is one of the 16 selected by the Governor’s office to receive funding for its existing program, Clean Technologies and Sustainable Industries Early College High School, held at Hudson Valley Community College’s TEC-SMART facility. The goal is to make more sense for the students who find it difficult to learn in a typical classroom.
“One of the emphases in this grant program is to make sure we're serving high-need students,” said Dr. King.
Donna Watson is the Troy Central School District Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and sees a great need in her district based on the recent Regents exam scores.
“This will definitely be helping us connect with kids who might not be experiencing success in the traditional approach,” said Watson. “It really is the promise for a bright future for our kids.”