Would "Learn and Earn" help Orange students?

Guest Post by Terri Buckner

Gov. Mike Easley recently announced a new program designed to provide incentive for high school students to remain in school, earn an associate's degree and prepare them for high-skilled jobs in new and emerging industries. "Learn and Earn" will provide students with the option of a five-year high school program that enables them to earn a high school diploma and a community college associate degree while gaining necessary skills to pursue a career in the new economy.

"Our schools have done a tremendous job providing rigorous course work to prepare students for college," said Easley. "However, for students who plan on entering the workforce, what is needed is a more relevant educational experience that will prepare them to compete in the global marketplace."

Durham is one of the pilot sites this fall, and Chatham will go online next fall.

Over the past year we've discussed the stress levels felt by CHCCS students, in part due to high standards of achievement. We've also talked about the superintendent's claim that low achieving students consume more resources than other students. And we've gone round and round about the continuing achievement gap.

This new plan is intended to reduce the drop out rate by providing an option for kids who feel disenfranchised by the K-12 environment, whether that's due to high stress levels, academic preparation, or other social factors. It's also a way of offering additional vocational education options. Would shared enrollment with Durham Tech be a good idea for Orange Co and CHCCS students? Is this a viable solution for the achievement gap? Should we be offering more vocational options to CHCCS students or would this be another form of tracking? And generally, do you think moving to a K-16 schooling model will benefit Orange Co/CHCCS students?

Terri Buckner, an instructional systems designer, lives and works in Orange County.



From today's Herald-Sun article on the joint school boards/commissioner meeting last night:

"Members of the two school boards and district and county officials also reported Monday night that they had met several times to discuss areas where the two systems could collaborate, including after-school programs and a "middle college" program with Durham Tech."

Looks like there is some local interest in the Learn and Earn program after all.

Yes, there should be MORE voc-ed options for HS students. Not everyone is best served by going to college--and that should be recognised. ALSO--trade jobs are stable. Can't get a plumber.HVAC tech, or an electrician in from India. SO--no out-sourcing there! I'd be thrilled if one of my kids decided to go into one of the trades. They make decent money, they don't HAVE to work 80 hour weeks, and theie jobs wouldn't get out-sourced to India. Plus--they could fix my house!


I like this idea. I remember when I was in school (not a million years ago, but far enough back) we had a very good VOC-ED program and a lot of my friends were well qualified to work as auto mechanics, plumbers, and such after going through that program.

The AA option is great too---much trade work is increasingly complex and requires more training now than previously, and working with Durham Tech uses existing resources to train our kids.

I'm with Melanie, I would be very happy for one or more of my children to earn a living working in the trade industry. The important thing to me is that they do work that they are competent to do, do it honestly, and do something they really enjoy.

Yes, I was wondering where could i sign up for a school like that? I like this idea, smaller public schools and a better education. I'm all for it! I'm just curious where should I go to learn more? Also, is there a website I can go to that will allow me to possibly regisiter? Thanks for all the help!

I love this phrase "school board members met several times to discuss areas where the two systems could collaborate, including after-school programs and a “middle college” program with Durham Tech.”

I see.... well... this last discussion on the current school board agenda about the middle college program was in Jan 2005. With a target date of August, 2005.

The middle college program has been being discussed since 2003. It was brought up by yours truly.

so, if there is so much interest and it's such a great idea, where is it?

well... according to my friends in Durham County and Orange County schools. There is a middle college program...


But, if you are CHCCS student, try finding it on either of the high school web sites.

Oh I forgot you have to look on the Orange Country Schools website. Silly me.

But, then again... maybe the program is under the Gifted Program literature.


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