Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Say What You Mean About Poverty

Being poor does not make students hard to educate.

The reporter and/or the headline writer is confused. [See At Magnet School, Poverty Level No Roadblock to Learning.]

Why shouldn't Garrett Academy succeed? The one-fourth of the freshman class that washes out each year does not do so because of lack of wealth. Some are ill-prepared in academics and others in work ethic and motivation. None of these major contributors are the result of lack of money. According to the news article,

"Some of Garrett's success can be tied to its ability to control the makeup of its student body. Garrett doesn't have any entrance requirements, but it does weed out poor-performing students through a continuation policy that sends students who fail certain courses back to their neighborhood school. About 24 percent of freshmen left Garrett at the end of last year because they couldn't pass their classes. [. . .] Because Garrett doesn't have an attendance zone, anyone who enrolls in the school has made a conscious decision to be there."

Of the other high schools "in the top 25 percent of high schools statewide for [their] students' poverty," how many are magnets?

Not to disparage Garrett's achievement, but surely that information is relevant!

Please don't tell us Superintendent McGinley or the current CCSD School Board is responsible for its success either. Fifteen years ago McGinley was an unknown principal in the Philadelphia school system.

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