Friday, March 13, 2009

Willy Wonka and the DOE

The New York Post reported yesterday that the DOE is launching an "Express to Success" program to help a small group of underachieving middle school students boost their academic levels so that they will be able to attend one of the elite specialized high schools like Stuyvesant or Bronx Science. And by small group, I mean really small - just 50 kids. No word yet on what happens to the other 1,099,950 kids in the system, nearly half of whom won't even graduate from high school.

On the small scale, I agree with the idea of giving more help and attention to the kids who need more help and attention. I think that just makes a lot of sense. But there's something very Willy Wonka-ish about focusing on such a small group with this special opportunity. So 50 kids get a golden ticket. Then what? What about everyone else?

Like charter schools in their current incarnation, this program is an escape valve more than an educational solution. It allows a few kids to have a chance while everyone else is stuck in a system that is not being fixed. That's great for those kids and I hope they're successful in school and in life. I just wish that they weren't the only ones.

No comments: