I was interested in an article in today’s NY Times about a school that gives chronically failing students another chance. It succeeds against all odds, but success is a slow process. New York’s mayor is not a fan, because many kids take six years to graduate.
Aniah McAllister, once a lost and wandering soul, has one of the happier stories. Reporter Michael Powell writes that she seems amazed to have earned 46 credits and to be headed to college.
“ ‘This school made realize,’ she says, ‘that I am much better than I thought I was.’
“That’s a pretty fair bottom line for any school,” writes Powell, “although in the up-is-down world of public education in New York, it might just be an epitaph for this small marvel of a high school. Known as a transfer high school, Bushwick Community admits only those teenagers who have failed elsewhere. Most students enter at age 17 or 18, and most have fewer than 10 credits.
“You can muck around quite a bit trying to find someone who has walked the school’s corridors, talked to its students and faculty, and come away unmoved. Most sound like Kathleen M. Cashin, a member of the State Board of Regents and a former superintendent. ‘They care for the neediest with love and rigor,’ she said. ‘They are a tribute to public education.’ ”
Read the article. I’m hoping it will have an influence on the policymakers and let an initiative that sounds so positive keep going.
Aniah McAllister, left, Justin Soto and Kassandra Barrientos attend Bushwick Community High School. Photograph: Kirsten Luce, NY Times