Imagine attending the University, taking classes on this campus, eating on campus, using the renowned library system, but not yet being in college. Imagine being a high school student on a college campus. In New York, among other states, this is not a dream, but a reality. There are currently 14 high schools that reside in campuses of the City University of New York; throughout the nation, there are about 60 campus high schools. What makes this noteworthy is that in New York state, students in these schools are doing exceedingly well.
Of the 14 campus high schools associated with CUNY, 12 made the chancellor’s “successful school” list, a consortium of 50 schools with above average performance levels. One school, Hostos Lincoln, has a graduation rate second only to Bronx Science, a school that demands high marks on a competitive entrance exam. Due to their success, these schools are attracting attention, and though small in number, they could mark a new trend in secondary education.
There are many advantages to this type of education. Most importantly, being on a college campus changes the attitudes of the students. In a place where being intelligent and motivated is a more valuable asset than being tough or apathetic, students from disadvantaged areas thrive. Yet, even the smaller atmospheric changes help, from using college IDs instead of metal detectors and using libraries, laboratories and computers as opposed to the inadequate facilities of many inner-city schools.
Even more obvious, it seems that being on a college campus motivates students to want to attend college eventually. Different from their usual, drab, often dangerous surroundings, college is a refuge for those wishing to change the course of their lives. In these high schools, crime goes down, focus sharpens and attitudes change.
This not-so-new development in education – some schools date back to the 1800’s – has seemingly endless benefits, but many colleges are reluctant to adapt this system. Some say that secondary education is simply not their issue, not in their jurisdiction, citing the inconveniences of incorporating another school into a college or university. With many colleges having scarce resources, the incorporation of a high school may seem impractical.
However, without able high school students, colleges lose their human capital, the raw materials needed to keep the institution running. To say that colleges and universities have a responsibility to cater to secondary institutions would be extreme and unfair, but they do have an obligation to aid in the educational advancement of America’s youth. Colleges should strengthen the bonds between two formerly separate entities, realizing the fruits of this relationship far outweigh the costs, in the end. Many undergraduate institutions push for social change and advocate activism. By reaching out to high schools, colleges can drastically improve society, students and the state of secondary education.