Morehead City, N.C.
Aug. 9, 2018
TO THE EDITOR:
I have cast another dissenting vote in one of our BOE meetings … this time, regarding whether to allow MaST Early College High School students to participate in athletics in our traditional high schools. I supported our high school principals in opposition to immediately pushing forward with this, but it passed nonetheless. I take the opportunity to share my reasoning behind my “dissenting opinion.”
From the very beginning, I have questioned and scrutinized the need for (and additional cost of) the MaST Early College High School. I believe that sports are an extremely important facet of the high school experience. However, I do not feel that we must replicate all aspects of our traditional high schools at MaST. Today it is sports, but tomorrow it may be band, chorus, art, drama, student council, clubs, prom, and any other activities our traditional high schools offer. And for each activity that we try to accommodate MaST students, additional hurdles and complications will arise for teachers and administrators at our normal high schools. I feel that students who want to take advantage of these activities at their home high schools should enroll in that high school … not only for the sake of the school, but for the sake of the students as well.
Some school systems and some students may benefit from the availability of an “Early College High School.” But contrary to what many people currently think, students do not need to abandon their home high schools (and their friends and extracurricular activities) and enroll in MaST to pursue a trade or to earn college credits while in high school. Many citizens apparently are not aware that these opportunities are already available to our traditional high school students through the “Career & College Promise” program. Following is a quote from the program’s webpage (http://www.carteret.edu/programs/career-college-promise/):
“Career & College Promise (CCP) is a program that allows North Carolina high school students to earn college credits tuition free while still in high school. The program provides seamless dual enrollment educational opportunities for eligible North Carolina high school students in order to accelerate completion of college certificates, diplomas, and associate degrees that lead to college transfer or provide entry level job skills.”
I have asked: “Are advantages and opportunities available to MaST students that will not be available to our traditional high school students?” I have been told: “The only advantage is they [MaST students] can take a CCC course in 9th grade.”
After asking: “Can students in the CTE pathway [of Career & College Promise] take any CCC courses for credit in the 9th grade?” I was informed: “Yes, there are five program areas: welding, aquaculture, marine propulsion, boat manufacturing and new heavy equipment marine diesel.”
So most of the opportunities that might sway some students to enroll in MaST are already available to our traditional high school students. Do other reasons exist which might justify the need for (and cost of) maintaining the Early College High School? Some think so. Regardless, before students forego the traditional high school experience, I want to ensure they and their parents are fully aware of all options currently available to help them succeed in their home high schools.
Carteret County Board of Education