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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

June 17, 2009 at 4:00 PM

College readiness

Not everyone is fit for higher education

In the guest column [“Preparing all students for the next step in life,” Opinion, June 16] Maria L. Goodloe-Johnson asks the question, “If college-ready education for all students is the goal, how do we get there?”

Another important question might be: Is college education a realistic goal for all students? When almost four of 10 students in Seattle don’t graduate on time and 25.3 percent drop out of high school, how will the college-prep program help them?

Not every student is capable of attaining these laudable levels of higher education. The alternative path that is offered in Great Britain might be worth studying. Teachers have, can and would identify students early on who don’t perform well in the standard classroom.

“Raising the bar” for these students will only reinforce failure. Taxpayers will inherit the burden of supporting the future of those without education or training. The state constitution requires that all students have a paramount right to a successful education. The primary goal is a high-school diploma.

In order to ensure these students benefit from this law, the educational system must provide alternative programs that will prepare them for all that life can offer just as equally as the college-prep students. Alternative programs or schools would also “ensure that all students are challenged and supported every step of the way so they graduate” with pride and the potential of becoming viable, contributing members of society.

Goodloe-Johnson should update the public on the current alternative programs and future plans to provide a successful path to high-school graduation for all students — whether or not they are going to college.

— Jody Greger, Redmond

Education aid should be race-blind

I read with interest your story [“Program reaps first crop of scholars,” page one, June 16] about the Rainier Scholars program. It looks like a great program that is having significant success giving disadvantaged young people opportunities for an education that might otherwise be out of reach. Clearly this program is well-run and effective.

However, it concerns me that such a program uses what amounts to a racial-litmus test instead of being an inclusive program available to anyone from a disadvantaged background. Why is this program not using a race-blind selection process based on economic background, neighborhood and other such factors? Do we not care about giving white kids who are poor or otherwise at risk, yet have academic potential, assistance through this program?

I find it puzzling that on one hand our society strives to eliminate racial discrimination, yet on the other hand we still actively use race to give advantages to some kids and not others.

— Christopher A. Flaat, Redmond

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