It’s Always the (Black) Kids that Suffer!

thecounter
As President Obama’s election mightily confirms, private school education can literally transform the lives of minority students. Which is why the news were hearing out of California’s Making Waves Education Program is particularly distressing. Established by Advent Software CEO John H. Scully , the organization supports private school educations for mostly African-American and Latino kids — promising qualifying kids financial and academic support from middle school all the way through college (where 90 per cent of them are the first in their families to attend).

Nice!

Well, actually, not so nice.

Turns out Making Waves key supporters have suddenly cut funding by upto 40 percent for the program’s dozens of students leaving the kids — and their schools — in a serious lurch. For the affected kids it means leaving their current schools — with their potential for long-term success — and heading instead neighborhood public schools with far less challenging academic environments. And often in far less secure neighborhoods.

To make matters worse, Making Waves students and their private schools have found themselves in an unusually cruel funding predicament. The kids will apparently have to duke it out among themselves for school spots and full-funding. As for the schools, administrators have been asked by Making Waves to rank their own students and essentially give the boot to kids failing to make the cut. Problem is, no one’s told school staffers exactly which criteria should be used to rank their students.

Ouch!

Insiders describe it as a “pecking order of sorts that is horrible for student and community morale and poison in the academic environment”.

While we know times are tough and non-profits nationwide are suffering — what gives? With 87 per cent of Making Waves kids Black or Latino and nearly 95 percent of its students going on to college, this sudden change of course means a sharp decline in potential minority graduates at a time when the need has never been greater. Moreover, while deep-pocketed donors may also be victims of the current economy, funding commitments are made years in advance for these kinds of programs — pulling out now is both illogical and unforgivable.

San Francisco-based Advent’s stock may be at a 52-week low, but the company is still worth a cool three-quarters of a billion dollars and we suspect there’s enough cash around to help Making Waves make good on its promises.

After all. As Barack himself proves — A mind is a terrible thing to waste.

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