Today I looked at a report on the Pathways in Technology Early College High Schools (P-TECH) program. In six years or less, a P-TECH student can graduate with a high school diploma and a no-cost, two-year Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree in a specified discipline. Each P-TECH program requires a partnership among a local school system, a local institution of higher education, and a local employer. The partnering company agrees to provide students with mentoring, paid summer internships, and first-in-line consideration for job openings with the school’s partnering company.
Maryland is currently phasing in nine P-TECH programs in six jurisdictions. The first P-TECH programs in Maryland were established at Carver Vocational-Technical High School and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School, both in Baltimore City. They had their first class of students earning graduate from high school in the 2019-2020 school year. According to data reported by the Maryland State Department of Education, 92.6% of Carver P-TECH students and 100% of Dunbar P-TECH students earner their high school degree. In addition, 48.1% of Carver P-TECH students also earned an AAS degree in four years. Additional students may earn their AAS in the fifth and sixth years of the program. According to the chart shown below, 31 P-TECH students at those two schools returned for the fifth year of the program in 2020-2021.
The report included information on Maryland P-TECH program enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year by grade and by school. Overall, there were 1,065 students enrolled in a P-TECH program. Grade 9 enrollment ranged from 25 students to 61 students. Enrollment is anticipated to grow as the programs continue to phase in. All currently operating programs will be fully phased in by the 2025-2026 school year.
The Pathways in Technology Early College High (P-TECH) School Act of 2017, states that it is the intent of the General Assembly that no additional P-TECH school shall be established other than those that receive a P-TECH Planning Grant in fiscal year 2017 or 2018 until the P-TECH Program is shown to be successful in preparing students for the workforce or for further postsecondary education. Thus, no new P-TECH schools funded by the State of Maryland will likely be established until an evaluation of the current programs is completed. However, the statutory language does not require a formal evaluation.