Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Eliot Spitzer, You're Really Doing It

Yesterday, the Sun reported Governor Spitzer is investing billions of dollars into SUNY and other New York colleges to increase their presence in public middle and high schools.

This increased "collaboration" will come in the form of associate degree level classwork and more interaction between the Universities and public students, some as young as twelve years old. Students involved in these programs would also receive increased financial aid and a guarantee that they would be able to go to a four-year college.

This IS a good idea.

Some might argue that putting kids in failing schools into college programs is unrealistic. It is not. In order for students to succeed in school it is vital that they have a goal, a future plan. High schools are a common part of middle school culture, they become part of a middle school students' future plans and thus a large majority of middle school students end up in high school. In a great number of high schools, college is not a part of the culture. It is not within reach. It is not familiar.

This program could help many high school students, from schools without a college culture, to understand what college means and how possible and important it really is. It could increase the number of students with "college" somewhere in their future plans.

Then, once they have college in their sights this plan throws in a double-whammy. First, you get guaranteed college placement. (Awesome, right?) Second, you get financial aid bonuses. As a senior going through the college process with many of my friends, I see everyday how vital these bonuses could be. It could mean the difference between succeeding in college and dropping out or not even going. Any program to encourage students not only to attend but also to succeed in college would not be complete without a financial aid aspect to it.

Getting colleges involved in high schools is always a good idea. For recognizing that, Governor Spitzer, I commend you. You are really doing it.

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