Published Online:
Published in Print: June 13, 2001, as Bard To Start Public 'Early College' In N.Y.C.

Bard To Start Public 'Early College' In N.Y.C.

Article Tools
  • PrintPrinter-Friendly
  • EmailEmail Article
  • ReprintReprints
  • CommentsComments

A New York City public high school managed by Bard College will grant graduating students an associate's degree in liberal arts and sciences, instead of a high school diploma.

The city's board of education approved the Bard College plan last week.

Scheduled to open in September in an existing Brooklyn school, the Bard High School Early College is the brainchild of Bard College President Leon Botstein, an outspoken critic of traditional high schools.

"They will never get a high school diploma," Mr. Botstein said of students at the new school. "I'm saying that in the long term, that that's no loss. Their time is better spent in college."

Mr. Botstein said he has always wanted to test his theory that students could bypass high school and accelerate learning in an urban system.

That theory is already in practice at Simon's Rock College of Bard, where students are admitted after completing 10th or 11th grade to pursue college degrees. But Simon's Rock is a boarding school for 364 students in Great Barrington, Mass., in the rural Berkshires.

Focus on Subject Matter

At the new Bard school, students will be taught a liberal arts college curriculum by professors with what Mr. Botstein called a "deep connection to the subject matter." A fatal flaw of a high school education, he believes, is teachers' lack of such knowledge.

Mr. Botstein, who also doesn't believe in undergraduate degrees in education for teachers, said high school teachers are inadequately prepared to instruct students.

The school will serve 250 students in grades 9 and 11 to start, adding the remaining grades the following year. Up to 1,000 students will attend the school eventually.

Students will be admitted to the school by application, interview, and portfolios—but not by standardized-test scores, which Mr. Botstein calls an "inadequate guide." He said the school would seek motivated and disciplined students who have strong family and community support.

While still a public school financed by state and local dollars, the Bard school's budget will be supplemented by money raised privately by Bard College, which is in Annandale-on-Hudson, N.Y.

New York City Schools Chancellor Harold O. Levy said Bard College's decision to work with the 1.1 million-student district is a "vote of confidence in our children" and in the school system's ability to implement innovative educational strategies.

"This exciting collaboration allows us to offer a unique option that ensures those New York City students who are ready and willing to engage in serious intellectual work have the opportunity to do so," Mr. Levy said in a statement.

Mr. Botstein said he hopes the partnership will inspire other liberal arts colleges to follow suit. He added that the Bard High School Early College could serve as a model that could be replicated in other urban centers across the nation.

Coverage of research is underwritten in part by a grant from the Spencer Foundation.

Vol. 20, Issue 40, Page 10

Related Stories
Web Resources
  • "High school is a completely corrupt, outdated, oppressive atmosphere and experience" according to Leon Botstein, president of Bard College, in an interview with the Christian Science Monitor, April 6, 2001.
  • Simon's Rock College, an arts and sciences college designed for high-school-age students that is part of Bard College, provides information about is history and mission.
  • Bard College provides a timeline of its history. Also, visit the Bard Center, through which "Bard has built a network of institutes, programs, and centers through which a vital dialogue with a larger cultural, intellectual, creative, and scientific community can take place."
You must be logged in to leave a comment. Login |  Register
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Back to Top Back to Top

Most Popular Stories

Viewed

Emailed

Commented