Cristo Rey Catholic schools, which require students to pay tuition by working one day a week, teach more than academics, concludes a Reason Magazine story. Low-income minority students learn about the professional world they hope to join.
Almost every weekday, 14-year-old Tiffany Adams rises before 6 a.m. in the Newark, New Jersey, home she shares with her grandmother and sisters. She dons her school uniform and catches two New Jersey Transit buses across the city, arriving at Christ the King Preparatory School, a Catholic high school that opened in September 2007, at 8.
. . . five school days a month, Adams skips the uniform and dons business attire. On those days, after a morning assembly, she bypasses the classrooms and hops instead into a van bound for Essex County College. There Adams works in the human resources department from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. or so, scheduling rÃ©sumÃ© appointments, doing clerical work, and generally keeping the place functioning.
. . . talk to students at Cristo Rey schools, and they tell you that, for all their hours spent graphing algebraic equations, it is their jobs that get them thinking most about the future. In their gleaming office buildings, they see men and women who earn enough to afford nice, safe homes. They see how people set priorities and deadlines and execute projects. Itâ€™s easy to mock corporate America, but compared with the chaos of inner-city life, a cubicle with your name on it can seem like heaven.
A Cristo Rey school in Chicago is one of the “relentless” schools profiled in David Whitman’s Sweating the Small Stuff: Inner-City Schools and the New Paternalism.
Work is the motivator for the low-income and working-class Mexican-American students I met in writing my book. They want an education so they can get decent jobs, live in a safe neighborhood and drive a car that starts reliably. Many don’t know college-educated people, except for their teachers. They don’t know what possibilities are out there.