Saturday, April 2, 2011

Celebrating (and Supporting) Good Schools

Perhaps due to the Final Four game this weekend between UConn and Kentucky, the NY Times ran the above article about UConn star Kemba Walker's alma mater Rice High School located in Harlem. It was nice to see an article focus on the positives that one school is doing in terms of successfully educating minority (African American and Hispanic) males. Even better was the lack of focus on testing and NCLB status that often accompanies articles on schools deemed to be doing a "good" job. What was sad, however, was the perilous state in which Rice High School has found itself in the wake of the economic downturn and lagging enrollments in faith-based schools; unfortunately, the school is practically on the verge of closing its doors. I know that this is a private institution and this is sometimes what occurs. Still, it is disheartening to see a school that is having a meaningful impact on its students, both academically and personally, struggling to survive. This story is reminiscent what occurred with the middle school section Ford School located in Lynn, MA, which despite its many accomplishments closed in 2009 due to financial considerations. Luckily grades the Ford School is still open (albeit only with grades Pre-K-5) and continues to make gains in educating a diverse population of students. Many are so quick to focus on the schools that are failing in the hopes of closing them or, more recently, on schools that brag about rapid gains in test scores. It would be nice to see society celebrate (and support) those schools, like Rice High School and the Ford School, that are humbly doing their job, but more importantly not only seek, but do educate well-rounded individuals as evidenced from their person and not their test score. 

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