Today, Senators Tom Harkin (D-IA) and Michael Enzi (R-WY), Chairman and Ranking Member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, unveiled their "Elementary and Secondary Education Act" reauthorization proposal which includes an initiative championed by U.S. Senator Herb Kohl to reduce high school drop-out rates and allow more low-income students to earn college credit. Kohl's Fast Track to College Act expands dual enrollment programs and early college high school opportunities for low-income students, permitting them to earn college credit while finishing high school. The "Elementary and Secondary Education Act" reauthorization makes significant and much-needed changes to the current law, providing greater flexibility to districts and states while still holding schools accountable for the education of all of our children.
"Talented students of limited means may doubt that college is a realistic option for their future. Dual-enrollment programs challenge that thinking by demonstrating that these students can master college material while completing their high school graduation. Too many bright and able students drop out before they develop the skills valued by employers, which is why dual-enrollment is supported by educators and business alike," Kohl said.
Kohl introduced the Fast Track to College Act in January 2011to attack the dropout problem and send more kids to college. "Dual enrollment" programs allow students to earn college credit, including even an Associate's degree, while also earning their high school diploma.
Dual enrollment programs can provide just enough cost savings to make college affordable, especially for low- and middle-income families who might think higher education is out of their reach. Equally important, these programs introduce students to the college environment and allow them to earn credit through real college coursework. This experience bolsters their confidence and skills, and shows them that they can successfully complete a college degree -- in less time and for less money than they might have thought possible.