Wendy Davis, the likely Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, has rolled out the second part of her education platform, providing three ways Texas high school students could gain a greater access to higher education.
Davis' platform says that one of the best ways to get students into college, graduate, and to reduce their out-of-pocket expenses is to allow them to obtain college credit while in high school.
Rebecca Acuña with the Davis campaign said one of the ways the Democratic state senator aims to accomplish this is by doubling the number of early college high school campuses and doubling the number of college credits offered in high school.
"And she’s confident that the state can do this with existing resources," Acuña said.
The plan also encourages school districts to form partnerships with local colleges and create a needs-based grant program under the Texas Education Agency so that cost would not be a barrier.
Acuña said 20 percent of Texas students receive a college degree and Davis wants to increase that to 50 percent.
Ken McCraw, who is the executive director of the Texas Association of Community Schools, a group representing the needs of small and mid-sized schools, said he has some concerns about Davis’ proposals.
"That won’t particularly benefit our members because they don’t generally have the numbers that would support early college high school," McCraw said.
He said they are very supportive of Davis’ education platform, but would like to see a compromise where small and midsize campuses could have a school within a school rather than having to build a separate early college high school campus.
McCraw said they would be willing to sit down with Davis to discuss how lowering the number students that are required to qualify for these programs and grant could benefit rural Texas students.
McCraw said most of their districts already have agreements with with local and satellite colleges to have college classes taught on high school campuses. He said some of the schools he represents have students already graduating with 30 semester hours of college credit.