Allowing sophomores access to PSEO a good move

Joe Nathan
Education Columnist

Last week Minnesota legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton gave a great gift to Minnesota families and students.  Legislators extended Minnesota’s pioneer post secondary options law to allow 10th graders to take career and technical courses on college campuses.

Because of young people’s creativity and insight, new “You Tube” videos are available to help young people and their families understand the value of dual (high school/college) credit courses.

Last week, as well as throughout the 27-year history of Post Secondary Enrollment Options, young people were helping explain PSEO’s value.

The new legislation allows Minnesota high school sophomores to take a free career/technical course on a college campus.

If they earn at least a “C” they may take additional PSEO career technical courses during their sophomore year. State funds will pay their tuition, lab and book fees.

High school juniors and seniors already may take career/technical and academic courses with the same provisions regarding book, lab and tuition. Jennifer Dounay Zinth of the Denver based Education Commission of the States, says Minnesota now “has one of the most extensive CTE/dual credit policies.”

High school students have worked with the Center for School Change to produce You-Tube videos that help explain the value of dual courses. These include Advanced Placement, College in the Schools, International Baccalaureate, Project Lead the Way as well as post secondary options.

Some of these videos are really lively, like the video entitled “Jump.”

Paj Ntaub worked with groups PACER, Migizi, the High School for Record Arts, Neighborhood House and the Minneapolis and St. Paul Public Schools to produce these (free) You Tube videos.

The Minnesota Department of Education, through the federal Voluntary Public School Choice program, provided funding.

High school students have worked with the Center for School Change to produce You-Tube videos that help explain the value of Dual (High School/College) courses.

These include Advanced Placement, College in the Schools, International Baccalaureate, Project Lead the Way as well as Post Secondary Options. Some of these videos are really lively, like the video entitled “Jump.”

•Virgil, who is taking AP courses raps, “I hop on my computer ‘cause I control my future. I slip on my glasses as a jump start to my classes.”

•In “Success”, Talia sings “Before you graduate, college doesn’t have to wait.”

•“Jeffrey”, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, hopes to do science writing, He explains why the Minneapolis Community Technical College  learning environment works better for him than high school.

The videos are at: http://www.centerforschoolchange.org/dual-credit/

As these videos show, dual credit courses can help young people be better prepared for college, reducing the likelihood that they will take remedial courses.

Taking these courses also can help young people save literally thousands of dollars in college costs.

The legislation came from bi-partisan efforts from the governor, legislators and advocacy groups.

They included the African American Leadership Forum, Growth and Justice, Migizi Communications, Minnesota Council on Gifted/Talented, MinnCAN, Education Evolving, EdVisions, Minnesota Business Partnership and Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, along with the Center for School Change.

Legislators did not go as far as we proposed. But opportunities have expanded.

That’s a great gift to the state.

 Joe Nathan, a former public school teacher and administrator, directs the Center for School Change at Macalester College.  Reactions welcome, jnathan@macalester.edu.

  • Eric Langness

    PSEO is a great option for high school students whom are ready for it. I took my entire junior and senior year of high school through PSEO at Saint Thomas University and not only saved a fortune in college tuition but actually spent those two years learning as the public school system wasn’t of any educational value to me. I highly recommend PSEO for our top performers!

  • Sam

    PSEO is awesome. I’m 17 and I got an Associate’s degree last month. High school graduation is this week. I saved literally tens of thousands of dollars by doing this and got a jump start. Minnesota should be an example to other states.

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