I recently read an article about our new Superintendent, Kevin Skelly, meeting with some students who attend Palo Alto schools under the voluntary transfer program and agreeing with the idea that the students attending through VTP are not receiving enough support from our schools and therefore are not as likely to attend college. They complain that they cannot afford to attend our state schools and cannot even afford SAT review courses.
Kevin Skelly actually suggested to these students that he could help them by mobilizing a privately funded source of money for kids in the VTP. Why? State colleges are a great deal and anyone, from anywhere, can obtain a student loan to attend. Yes, there will be a bill for the student to pay back at the end of college and after he or she obtains full-time employment, but that's the way most of the people I know from my generation went through college. We would never consider looking for a handout in order to avoid having college debt when we finished school. What is going on here? I can't believe Kevin Skelly didn't bring this concept to their attention.
As far as an SAT review course being so expensive that they are unable to attend one . . . No way! Palo Alto High School even has a course that is put on by, I think, Ivy West. It costs around $50.00. You can't tell me that they or their family can't find $50.00 in their household for such an important class. This isn't a surprise when you are approaching the SAT testing years. Save $1.00 per week for the year prior to beginning the class and you're set.
What Kevin Skelly should have been telling these kids was to begin taking personal responsibility for themselves. Not relying on everyone else to give them what they want. This has got to stop. Personal responsibility needs to be reinforced in our schools...now!