What is E.C.H.S and why is it good?
Two hundred years ago, only the richest families could afford education. They were the royals, the aristocrats, or the founders of educational centers. As newer and better ideologies and opportunities introduced replaced the old, faulty ones, the situation bettered. However, poverty is never away. Eighty-three percent of American students say they cannot afford college. Fortunately, many philosophers and philanthropists are offering new choices for low-income families to afford education. Early College High School (referred to as E.C.H.S later on) is one of them. Kids studying in these high schools take both high school classes and college courses to earn, in the end, both a high school graduate and a two-year college degree. Is that, however, always good?
College is hard in every way. Academically, you have to take in a large amount of new information every day. Non-academically, you are exposed to numerous attracting things in society. Such a large amount of challenges may be too much to bear–unless you start preparing for them earlier. Early College High Schools are built simply for this intent. Students come in contact with college-level academics and college lifestyles while in high school. Early preparation is always helpful, just like starting your review earlier for an exam.
2019’s newest enrollment rate and graduation rate shows more positive factors than negative. Research shows that there are significant positive impacts on high school graduation rates and postsecondary enrollment rates. Eighty-four percent of the early-college students successfully entered college while only seventy-seven percent of none-early-college students were enrolled. Colleges aside, forty-five percent of the E.C students graduated with good grades while thirty-four percent of U.S average high-schoolers graduated. No matter how you look at the two statistics, you see the self-evident pattern that E.C students are generally more successful than average students.
However, as Samuel Freeman, a political science professor at the nearby University of Texas-Pan American states, “They (the students) do not have the critical and analytic thinking skills. They do not have the reading skills. They cannot handle the reading load. They don’t have the writing skills. They cannot write.” Instead of succeeding in both high school and college, he means, unprepared students will fail both parts and essentially kill his future. E.C.H.S, just like any other new investments or innovations, is risky. You may earn an immense profit, or you may lose every penny you own.
The downsides are about the psychological effects E.C.H.S may have on students. Teenagers tend to have less self-control than adults. That is a fact. If too much temptation is exposed, most teenagers will lose control. One significant trait of college life is freedom. Most students tend to turn eighteen during college, and becoming an adult would mean you are allowed to drink, drive, go to bars and clubs, et cetera. It is not true that E.C.H.S allows underage drinking, but similar freedom (like choosing whether or not they want to go to class) may give them the false idea that they are already grown-ups, guiding them to perform illegal actions.
There are, on average, 23.1 pupils in an ordinary high school class. Supporters of E.C.H.S states that many students in one class create distractions. E.C.H.S classes contain only around ten students (only one-half the traditional size). “Small size has fewer distractions and good value,” states Christina Tyan-Wood. Related to the previous argument on temptation, some supporters claim that E.C.H.S schools have, in fact, fewer temptations. First of all, a small class group lessens the level of juvenile delinquency. Mainly, however, they argue that since kids are too busy doing school works and off-class researches, they do not have time to be distracted.
Over-stressing, however, is not good. Pressure may keep kids on track, but too much stress will break them. Scientifically speaking, stressing out too much may lead the human body to react in extreme ways. Suppressing your immune system, digestive and reproductive systems, pressure causes permanent damage to teenagers’ bodies. It can even rewire the brain, which causes anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems. E.C.H.S schools are not known for relaxing studies. As past high-schoolers, everyone should be familiar to the amount of tasks and goals you have to accomplish in four years. When one graduates and moves on to college, they are greeted by complicated tasks and an unplanned future to take care of. It is, by far, not a wise choice to give people more stress.
E.C.H.S plays a similar role as many modern parents—it fixes the students’ future in place. E.C.H.S schools are built to prepare students for one or only a few specific types of colleges. That narrows the number of choices the students have for their future. One cannot switch majors or academic focuses once in college, for they were shaped and built for only the specific major. For that reason, most parents tend to think twice and ask their children what they truly want to do before letting them enter an E.C.H.S school.
Early College High School courses are new to this world, being created just after 2001. There are currently 75,000 students in twenty-eight state studying in such schools, and one-half of them studied English as a second language. E.C.H.S prepares them for future college lives, creates a college-bound mentality, but, on a certain level, gives the students too much stress and strain. As a new innovation, there are always imperfections. All we can do for the next decades is to wait for improvements and changes to make it even more fitting and helpful to the millions of kids seeking education.