The Modesto City Schools board has approved a five-year contract with Advance Path Academics, whose mission is to "recover, educate, and graduate" students labeled "at risk of dropping out." Their mission is a noble one. Additionally, Superintendent Arturo Flores is to be commended for addressing the dropout problem. My concern is that this may not be a wise use of limited resources.
I believe the board has underestimated the free resources available at each high school. For each struggling student, I would suggest that there is at least one high-achieving and willing student who could offer tutoring help, eliminating the need for three Internet cafe- style classrooms, new furniture and computers, as well as intradistrict travel.
University admissions officers who are no longer impressed with perfect 4.0 grade-point averages and perfect SAT scores might smile upon the applicant who has shown himself to be a committed leader by facilitating a tutoring program at his high school, thereby forging unlikely relationships, modeling an appreciation for learning, and motivating his peers to personal growth as well as their diploma.
Simplistic, perhaps, but at least it would reflect an attempt by the education community to acknowledge the importance of living within its means.