In his recent speech to NAACP, President Obama lauded the innovations of two New York City public schools, Bard High School Early College and Medgar Evers College Preparatory School, for "challenging students to complete high school and earn a free associate's degree or college credit in just four years."
Both of my kids went to BHSEC and both loved it. They HAD to love it to make the daily commute from our home at the very top of Manhattan by subway all the way down the West Side to 14th street, then down and across to Houston and Avenue D (on the East Side) by bus...about 90 minutes each way.
The school, it was clear to us from the very start, is very special. It is a true intellectual community -- a rarity among high schools, in my experience. Students are treated with respect, as responsible and intelligent adults. For the most part they respond by acting responsibly and by exercising a great deal of intelligence. Those who are not up to the challenge tend to realize this early and elect, often in their freshman year, to attend a different school.
Now, Kesi Augustine, a graduate of BHSEC has published a column about her experiences at the school over on the Huffington Post website. It is worth reading.