Tough Love in the Washington Post Magazine chronicles a black single mother’s quest to get her two children a good education. Forced to move to a poor neighborhood, Sheila Hutton sent her children across town to a better elementary school.
. . . neither William nor Michelle ever attended another neighborhood school. Not the red-brick junior high they could see from their new front door, not the columned public high school mere minutes away. Instead they traveled across town and then across states — each bus ride or plane trip delivering them one stop closer to the goals and expectations their mother had set.
To special programs with more challenging academics. To opportunities that expanded their horizons literally and figuratively. Hutton kept pressing the system, weighing the trade-offs, scouting for opportunities and for those who might supply them. As a working-class single mom with few assets and fewer credentials, she felt she could do little else.
Both kids were graduated from high schools in New Hampshire, and are now in college.
As Gadfly points out, it shouldn’t be this hard for a mother to get her kids a decent education.
Successful students are using No Child Left Behind’s transfer provisions to escape chronically underperforming schools, the Post reports. Some want to limit transfers to low achievers, who presumably need more help. Not fair, writes D.C Education Blog.
Pardon me for editorializing, but DUH. NCLB is supposed to help any kid from an underperforming school get moved to a better classroom. I suspect the reason kids like Umaid Qureshi do well in underperforming schools is the same reason he’s now leaving it: his parents. It seems awful punitive to restrict the options of a parent of a child in a crappy school because they actually care about their child’s education.
The children of educationally ambitious parents might survive a bad school, but will do much better if they’re given more opportunities to learn.