Building on the success of the Gateway to College model, educators and policy makers are beginning to see that postsecondary pathways can, and must, be made available to all students, including those who had previously dropped out.
High school graduation rates have climbed to historic highs, due to the hard work of educators and many of our partner organizations in the past few years. In spite of this success, 19% of young people are still not graduating on time. Further, our 21st century job market is dependent on a balanced workforce that includes more students earning meaningful postsecondary credentials.
As Gateway to College programs were being replicated around the country, school districts and policy makers began to take notice of the success Gateway to College students had in a dual enrollment setting. In a number of states, lawmakers have changed policies to create additional pathways for Gateway to College students. This could lead to opportunities outside of Gateway to College for students to take dual credit courses in these states. Our Policy Agenda details specific policies that have been implemented in Colorado, Washington, and Mississippi.
GtCNN is increasingly focused on working with state and national education leaders, policy makers, and a broad national coalition to ensure that disconnected youth are not only graduating from high school, but they’re doing so prepared to earn a degree or credential and be significant contributors to the workforce. Policy advocacy allows us to promote educational opportunities for disconnected and underserved youth in a broader, more systemic way. In 2012, we adopted a formal policy agenda to guide this work and, together with our network partners, engaged in a variety of significant policy-related efforts.
While Gateway to College is focused on dual enrollment as a strategy to reconnect students to their education, dozens of national organizations are working to increase high school graduation rates and provide additional opportunities for young people to pursue their dreams. A national coalition is necessary to ensure that the nearly 5.6 million disconnected youth (opportunity youth) are able reengage in their education. We are committed to working with partners who are tackling this issue from a number of angles.