THE HIGH SCHOOL CONUNDRUM: High school may be getting something of a makeover. On November 10, the White House announced $375 million in public and private support for efforts aimed at redesigning US high schools. The endeavor bundles together six federal programs and almost 30 private initiatives. The announcement was a result of the first White House Summit on Next-Generation High Schools, a movement started in 2013 to rethink schools in order to offer young people the opportunity to access an education more connected to the 21st century needs, including personalized and hands-on learning.
The list of federal commitments include a yet-to-be-launched $20 million grant for innovative projects related to school reform, a series of recommendations on how to adopt personalized learning and a playbook with resources to help schools redesign themselves. Among the private initiatives is an IBM agreement to open 25 more P-Tech schools, a high school model originally launched in New York that connects students with IBM mentors and confers on them a two year postsecondary degree in a STEM field along with a high school diploma.
The collection of efforts presents a basket of projects that are somewhere in between future intentions and real commitments. All bets are off.