This morning, the New York Times printed a story which validates everything that we do at BTNY. Mike Bloomberg assembled a team of experts to discuss the most pressing issues in education and has decided to throw his weight behind helping low-income kids get through college.
Well, it's about time.
What we know about low-income kids is that even the most talented must struggle through a whole barrage of obstacles that will negatively affect their graduation rates. These factors that may stand in the way between them and their diplomas have nothing to do with their intelligence, their drive or their desire to succeed.
It starts with the level of academic preparation they receive, which is woefully subpar and does not prepare them to excel in college-level work. It continues with undermatching and not attending competitive schools that have the financial resources to support them. It has to do with the financial burdens and cultural barriers that our students disproportionately shoulder compared to their affluent peers. They do not inherit the networks or social capital that their more affluent peers have.
In short, they are playing with a deck that was stacked against them long before they got to college.
We have long known that, even with motivation and intelligence, our students were fighting an uphill battle and that simply getting into college was not a guarantee of graduation.
We have long known that our students would not be "just fine" over the long term without help and support.
We have long known that our expectations for other people's children do not match the expectations or outcomes that we have for our own.
Kudos to Bloomberg who understands that a college degree is the single most effective way for a child to end poverty in his or her family forever.