Starting this past spring, parents in Indianapolis; Troy, Mich.; Jacksonville and Tampa, Fla.; and Houston, Texas, heard about a new option for their children’s last two years of high school.
In each city, a charter school called Early Career Academy planned to offer students the chance to earn associate degrees, either in network systems administration or software development, alongside their high school diplomas. Students were offered laptops to work on and ebooks to use. All for free.
But the schools are meeting opposition, largely because of the organization behind them: ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit college with tens of thousands of students, 145 physical locations and a checkered reputation. Like the rest of the for-profit college sector, the value of ITT’s educational offerings is coming under increased federal scrutiny.
This fall, the Indianapolis Early Career Academy postponed its opening for a year, citing governance issues. Enrolled students had to find spots elsewhere. The Tampa opening was postponed too, and the Duval County school board rejected the Jacksonville school for similar reasons as in Indianapolis. A public hearing for the proposed Houston location is set for this week.