Concurrent enrollment a success story worth celebrating
Last week, The Denver Post published a front-page story on the success of concurrent enrollment programs across the state. Concurrent enrollment allows high school students to simultaneously complete their diplomas and earn college credits, certificates or associate's degrees.
We were pleased to read the article, and we think it is worth taking a moment to celebrate the program's success.
For years, we've worked hard to make concurrent enrollment opportunities available to students throughout the state. The Bell's Frank Waterous served on a subgroup of Gov. Bill Ritter's P-20 education council that recommended the framework for the current program. During last year's legislative session, he provided input and advice on draft legislation and testified on behalf of House Bill 1319, which created the new statewide system that is helping more students achieve their dreams.
We believe the success of concurrent enrollment, and other important education reforms for which the Bell continues to advocate, ultimately will be measured by the vibrant society and strong economy that will develop as students join the workforce and enter adulthood.
And in personal terms, the stories of the young people in the Post's story are truly inspiring.
There's a Lincoln High School junior who didn't have high expectations for college, even though she is a good student. Now she is thinking big -- Stanford, Princeton or even Harvard.
There's a Golden High School graduate who is attending Harvard University. Concurrent enrollment classes at Red Rocks Community College opened doors and gave her the confidence and drive to aim for the Ivy League.
There's an Aurora Central High School junior who figured he was headed for "flipping burgers" until a teacher made him think about his future. Now he's taking concurrent enrollment classes and is on track for college.
These students are examples of what the research has told us all along: that concurrent enrollment can inspire students who are at-risk of dropping out to stay in school and get a head-start on higher education, and that concurrent enrollment allows good students who didn't think college was attainable or affordable to set their sights higher than they could have imagined.
The student success stories told in the Post article make it clear that concurrent enrollment is a sound investment in our young people and our state, an investment that will pay dividends for all of us.
And in the broadest sense, we see concurrent enrollment as just one component of the Cycle of Opportunity, a concept we developed in 2002 that continues to guide our work. The idea is simple: Events and experiences can accumulate over a lifetime of effort, and they make it possible for families and individuals to realize their full economic, social and personal potential.
For example, if someone gets a good education, he or she is more likely to get a job that pays well. If they have a job that pays well, they are more likely to be economically self-sufficient. If they are economically self-sufficient, they are more likely to be able to buy a home and provide opportunities for their children. And if their children are born healthy and get a good education themselves, the cycle will repeat itself.