Hope in the Unseen; Harlem Success Academy Charter School lottery and the crime of charter caps
If you think that parents from the worst inner-city neighborhoods don’t aspire for something better for their kids, a lottery like this will dispel that illusion real fast.
Ms. Lewis said she’s seen people on crack walking their kids to school. “We had parents who came into our office who were clearly strung out,” she added. “They could not read or write, but they got themselves there and said, ‘I need help on this application’ for their son or daughter. Families do want the best for their children. If they have a chance, they don’t want their kids to inherit their problems. ... These aspirations are so underserved.”
Ms. Lewis said that she and her colleagues would meet with parents begging to get their kids in, help them fill out the applications and then, after the parents left, go into their offices, shut the door and cry.
Tony Cherry’s son Noah, an 11-year-old from Baltimore County, was one of the lucky ones whose number got pulled. “His teacher said if he got picked they’re going to have a party for him,” said Mr. Cherry. “This is a good opportunity. It’s going to give him a chance. ... Wish they could take all of them.”
Not everyone selected was in attendance, said Carol Beck, SEED’s director of new schools development. So, on Monday SEED notified those who had won. “We called one school counselor the next day and told her that so-and-so was chosen,” said Ms. Beck, “and she said: ‘Thank you. You have just saved this child’s life.’ ”
There are so many good reasons to finish our nation-building in Iraq and resume our nation-building in America, but none more than this: There’s something wrong when so much of an American child’s future is riding on the bounce of a ping-pong ball.
What's going on in WAY too many of our schools, for millions and millions of children, is indeed an absolute crime.Why aren't stories like THIS on the front page of the New York Times and every other paper in the country?! Instead, the media seems to prefer to play idiotic games of "gotcha", fixating on irrelvant nonsense like the busses not running smoothly for a week or two.And why isn't every American of good conscience screaming bloody murder about this? A major part of the answer, sadly, is because the victims of this crime are poor and minority. Rest assured that if well-off white folks had to send their kids to failing schools, they wouldn't be failing for very much longer!Yet the civil rights community is basically completely absent. I'm reminded of what I heard Howard Fuller, a true warrior for children, say: "What good is it to sit at the lunch counter when you can't read the menu?!"
Hope in the Unseen
Every once in a while as a journalist you see a scene that grips you and will not let go, a scene that is at once so uplifting and so cruel it’s difficult to even convey in words. I saw such a scene last weekend at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in Baltimore. It was actually a lottery, but no ordinary lottery. The winners didn’t win cash, but a ticket to a better life. The losers left with their hopes and lottery tickets crumpled.
The event was a lottery to choose the first 80 students who will attend a new public boarding school — the SEED School of Maryland — based in Baltimore. I went along because my wife is on the SEED Foundation board. The foundation opened its first school 10 years ago in Washington, D.C., as the nation’s first college-prep, public, urban boarding school. Baltimore is its second campus. The vast majority of students are African-American, drawn from the most disadvantaged and violent school districts.