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Early High School Graduation Discussed in Online Chat Today

Graduating from high school early is appealing to many seniors. Some are anxious to move on to college; others are burned out on high school and ready for the next chapter in their lives.

Some states are offering students scholarships if they graduate from high school early. It can be an incentive for a student to work hard and stay focused. To wrap up their credits early, some take summer school or online classes.

The concept can also be appealing to cash-strapped districts that can save money when students exit the system early. Families get a break on tuition from the scholarships for early graduation.

An issue brief out today from the non-profit National Center for Policy Analysis suggests eliminating the 12th grade, calling it the least productive and most expensive grade. Students might be better served earning college credit early, attending a vocational or receiving workforce training, according to author Linus Wright.

But with the push on college- and career-readiness, some counselors fear students are missing out on extra classes and preparation if they graduate ahead of time.

Minnesota, Idaho, Indiana, and South Dakota are among the few states that have recently established early high school graduation programs. Others are considering legislation. Nonprofit organizations are also piloting programs exploring the benefits of ramped up academics that promote early completion. (For more on the trend, see last month's story here.)

There will be a free online chat, hosted by Education Week, on Monday, Feb 27, from 1-2 p.m. EST, to discuss early high school graduation.

The guests will be Pat Garofalo, a Republican State Representative from Minnesota who sponsored the Early Graduation Achievement Act that passed in the state legislature last year.

Also joining the discussion will be Marc Tucker, president of the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington. His organization is piloting an early high school graduation program, Excellence for All, in select U.S. high schools.

Send us your questions and listen to the conversation on Monday. Sign up here to receive an email reminder about the chat.

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