Maine eyes 5-year high school, early college

Maine will consider expanding early-college options, including a proposed five-year high school that will let students graduate with college credits, reports the Bangor Daily News.

Gov. Paul LePage will create a task force to recommend an early-college plan for the state.

During last year’s campaign for governor, LePage floated the idea of having high school students take introductory-level college courses so that in five years of high school, they could graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree, or two years of transferable college credits, all for free.

The proposal was part of LePage’s campaign report “Turning the Page: New Ideas to Get Maine Working.” The report said the proposal for an extra year of high school was borrowed from a similar program in North Carolina. The nonprofit Early College High School Initiative, which promotes systems that blend high school and college, says it has helped bring such offerings to nearly 30 states.

Sen. Brian Langley, R-Ellsworth, who co-chairs the Education Committee, also is a vocational teacher. Many good-paying jobs require a year of training, not a degree, he says. “We have to do more training that is tailored to the jobs that are out there and not just college or two-year degree programs.”

In the next 10 years, nearly 60 percent of jobs in Maine will require at least some amount of college education, the governor says.