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Knowledge From the Field

Policies Paved the Way: Early College Innovation in North Carolina

Published: February 2010

Publisher(s): Jobs for the Future

Author(s): Vargas, Joel; Jason Quiara

Funder(s): Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

View Report (24 pages; 528KB; PDF)

Area of focus: Preparation for College


This brief explores the ways that North Carolina has supported educational innovation to raise high school graduation and college-readiness rates. It focuses on leaders of early college schools, featuring their thoughts and ideas on state policies that have shaped their success.

Key Findings and/or Recommendations

=Leaders most often cited support from state leaders as the impetus for change and innovation.

=Unobtrusive or helpful state policies (e.g. policies favorable to college-course taking by high school students) play an integral role in supporting the early college design and overall innovation.

=”Flexibility for accountability,” the idea that early colleges are given flexibility as long as they deliver results, is an important step toward successful programs.

=Small schools with personalized support are key to the success of early college, as well as the improvement of high school graduation rates.

Geographic Focus: North Carolina

Subjects/Keywords: State policy; early college; innovation; flexibility; accountability; at risk students; low income students

+ Successful strategy
= Observation
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