Strengthening college success for New York City’s low-income students and students of color could start with a different option for teachers, write TC alumni and co-founders of a Brooklyn charter school in an op-ed written for Crain’s New York Business.

“Why not permit high school teachers to become credentialed as adjuncts for certain CUNY schools?” ask Pagee Cheung (M.A. Education Leadership) and Arthur Samuels (M.A. ’10, Secondary Math Education). “Then [teachers could] align their courses to the school's curriculum and allow students to take credit-bearing classes at their own high school?”

As co-founders and executive directors of MESA Charter Math, Engineering and Science Academy since 2013, Cheung and Samuels have implemented proactive pathways to college that include dual enrollment, as well as waiving qualifying tests and essays for enrollment in advanced placement classes.

“Too often policy-makers pay lip service to the importance of a college degree but fail to create the structure necessary to support our most at-risk students in getting one,” write Cheung and Samuels, who in their piece also cite a February New York Daily News essay in which TC President Thomas Bailey and Senior Research Scholar Davis Jenkins make a case for expanding College Now, the NYC public school partnership with CUNY institutions.

Credentialing high school teachers “would lower some of the barriers kids face in earning college credit without diminishing the rigor of the class,” the alumni write. “If we want to see college graduation rates go up, we need to create more opportunities for students to be exposed to college-level material while still in high school.”

Read the full op-ed here.