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President Barack Obama Cites Bard High School Early College in Centennial Speech to the NAACP

President Singles Out Bard Program as Model for the Future

Mark Primoff

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – President Barack Obama, in a speech given yesterday in New York City marking the centennial of the NAACP, cited the Bard High School Early College as an innovative model for the future of secondary and higher education. In a passage on addressing approaches to improving education in America, Obama said:

“We should also explore innovative approaches being pursued here in New York City; innovations like Bard High School Early College and Medgar Evers College Preparatory School that are challenging students to complete high school and earn a free associate's degree or college credit in just four years.”

Founded on the belief that many young people are ready and eager to do serious college work at age 16, Bard High School Early College (BHSEC) was created by Bard College in collaboration with the New York City Department of Education as an alternative to the traditional high school. Located in lower Manhattan, it enables highly motivated students to earn an associate of arts degree as well as a high school diploma in four years. Since opening in September 2001, BHSEC has celebrated seven graduations, with over 750 students receiving a Bard College Associate in Arts degree as well as a New York State Regents high school diploma. More than 95 percent of these graduates successfully move on to leading four-year colleges and universities, and the majority of these students complete their four-year college degree within three years, earning millions of dollars in scholarship aid along the way. Based on BHSEC’s successful model in Manhattan, Bard High School Early College II (BHSEC II) opened in 2008 in Queens. By September 2009, the BHSEC schools will serve more than 1,000 diverse New York City public school students. BHSEC II partners with the New York Academy of Sciences to provide additional curricular and extra-curricular opportunities in the sciences. Both schools are open to all New York City residents and tuition is free. For more information on BHSEC, visit, call 212-995-8479, or e-mail

Founded in 1860, Bard College is a four-year residential college of the liberal arts and sciences located 90 miles north of New York City on the east bank of the Hudson River. It offers bachelor of arts degrees in 40 academic programs and graduate degrees in eight programs. Through its innovative programs and affiliated schools in New York City, Massachusetts, California, Russia, Palestine, and elsewhere, Bard College has taken a leading role in improving education nationwide and throughout the world. For more information about Bard, visit


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This event was last updated on 08-14-2015