Two Kinds of Poor?

10 11 2006

I read this:

Friday night lights in the Valley
Residents agree their new $4.5 million football stadium is the best thing that’s happened to this small Texas town

SAN BENITO — With one of every two of its children expected to drop out of high school and all of them eligible for free school lunches, this town deals with its social problems and clings to its modest circumstances much like the rest of the Rio Grande Valley.

. . .

And then I read this:

At DPS, free path to college

Graduates from three Denver high schools could get a free college education at one of 33 Colorado colleges under a new scholarship program announced Thursday by Denver Public Schools and city leaders.

The Denver Scholarship Foundation could help send about 700 graduating seniors from Montbello, South and Abraham Lincoln high schools to college in a pilot program.

By spring, officials hope to expand the effort to students from all DPS high schools.

Starter funds for the program come from millionaire oilman Tim Marquez, who graduated from Abraham Lincoln High. He and his wife, Bernadette, have given a “substantial amount” of money to start an endowment for the foundation, Marquez said. He declined to say how much.

He hopes the program will have a $200 million endowment within five years.

With that $200 million, which is estimated to kick off $10 million a year in interest, officials think they’ll have to raise another $10 million every year to send about 6,500 Denver graduates to college at a time, Marquez said.

. . .

In Denver, 63 percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch – a federal benchmark of poverty.

Even for the other 37 percent, college could be out of reach, said Evan Icolari, associate director for financial aid at the University of Colorado at Boulder.


It just made me say: “Hmmmmm. . .”

Another Reason to Homeschool

10 11 2006

You can enjoy your family at Thanksgiving. Or any other time of the year!


Without having to fight with the school principal about it —

Work & Family: Keeping kids out of school for family trips

Friday, November 10, 2006

By Sue Shellenbarger, The Wall Street Journal

As Thanksgiving nears, Martha Winokur is mounting a minor revolt — against her 17-year-old son’s school.

The school explicitly prohibits missing classes for family vacations and imposes a work penalty on students who do, such as raking leaves or scraping gum off desks. But Ms. Winokur’s family is planning a reunion starting the weekend before Thanksgiving, and she has decided her son will miss school to attend.

“I know it’s against the rules,” the Needham, Mass., mother says she told the school’s dean last week in an email. “But we’re doing it anyway.”

More parents are pulling their kids out of school for family vacations. Some 61 percent of travelers say they would take their children out of school for a family trip, up from 57 percent in 2003 and 45 percent in 2000, says a 2006 survey of 1,600 travelers by Yesawich, Pepperdine, Brown & Russell, a travel marketing and research concern in Orlando, Fla. Other research shows the trips are increasingly likely to happen during the travel off-season in the fall.

The trend reflects a shift in values toward more family time.

. . .

Thank goodness — parents fighting for family values!

. . .
Missing the learning that takes place in the classroom puts a student at a disadvantage, Mr. Rost says.

Really, are the schools concerned about the students? Really??

In the 2 1/2 years John Dodig has been principal at Staples High School in Westport, Conn., he has sharply restricted family-vacation absences. He, too, cites the “high stakes academically.” At a previous school where Mr. Dodig was principal, one family asked to take their son, a senior, overseas during school because the trip was 50 percent cheaper in the off-season. Mr. Dodig refused.

“It came down to drawing a line in the sand and being looked directly in the eye” by the parent who asked, ‘Are you really going to hold my child to this?'” Mr. Dodig says. “The answer was yes.” The family went anyway, and the student was required to attend summer school before graduating.

Schools feel mounting pressure to have all students in class. Falling attendance can affect schools’ ratings under the federal No Child Left Behind law; under some state formulas, schools may even lose some funding. Also, growing emphasis on standardized testing is making teachers less flexible about the alternative assignments they permit.

. . .

Ah, yes, that sounds more like it.

Read on for more ways the schools try to control every moment of your life.

And how some parents aren’t putting up with it.

Despite the obstacles, a growing number of parents say deciding to travel anyway is a no-brainer. Ms. Winokur’s family reunion later this month will bring together in Florida 24 cousins, siblings and grandparents from four distant states. “I am respectful” of school policies, Ms. Winokur says. “But life is short, and in a few years the school will not be there” for her son. “But the family will.”