It was a shout out that was worth its weight in gold.
In the days since President Obama lavished praise in his State of the Union address upon the Pathways in Technology Early College High School in Brooklyn, the school has been the object of nationwide attention.
Obama gave prime-time, internationally televised recognition to the school, located in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights section. The school is run by the New York City Public Schools in a partnership with the IBM Corporation and the City University of New York. The president said it was an example of how schools can prepare students for the job market.
“I have literally not stopped doing interviews since the speech,” said Rashid F. Davis, the school’s founder and principal, in an interview with BET.com. “It’s been very, very busy. But the attention is a wonderful thing for the school.”
P-Tech, as the school is known, opened in 2011 and is a six-year program for New York City high school students. At the conclusion of the program, students earn a high school degree as well as an associate’s degree. Leaders contend the degree provides students with far better opportunities to obtain entry-level positions at places like IBM once they graduate.
In the State of the Union address, the president said: “Students will graduate with a high school diploma and an associate degree in computers or engineering,” adding: “We need to give every American student opportunities like this.”
Davis stresses that P-Tech is a traditional public school and not a charter school. The student body is 85 percent African-American and 10 percent Hispanic, he said.
“The notable feature is that 73 percent of our students are young Black men and 98 percent were promoted from grade nine to 10,” Davis said. “We know that the ninth grade is the make-or-break year. But we’re killing two birds with one stone. Not only are we diminishing the dropout rate. But we’re also giving young Black men a secondary educational credential.”
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(Photo: Courtesy of P-Tech)