Educators have a new euphemism for struggling students, writes Jay Mathews on Class Struggle. “At-risk kids” are now “at-promise.”
“We use the term ‘at-promise’ in Alexandria City Public Schools to describe children who have the potential to achieve at a higher rate than they are currently achieving,” (Superintendent Morton) Sherman said in a July 23 op-ed for the Alexandria Gazette Packet. “Really, all children are at-promise, because we, as educators, have made a promise to each and every child that we will work toward higher achievement for all.”
Of course, if all students are “at-promise,” then the term has no meaning.
Educators want to focus on students’ strengths, rather than their “deficits,” such as disability, lack of English proficiency or family poverty. But, if the deficits really relate to learning, then focusing on something else means ignoring what children need to learn.