Right on Promise
Jake Haulk is right on all counts in his column “The Pittsburgh Promise scholarship program: Promises & more promises” .
I saw graduation class after graduation class leave Brashear High School, many students “not prepared to do college-level work.” Many factors inhibited rigorous study in my English classes: First and foremost was the district’s core curriculum. Little to no grammar was written into the scripted curriculum. Occasionally, it suggested teaching “semicolon usage” in some reading. But how does one teach that to kids who cannot correctly punctuate using a comma or period? Most students graduating did not understand the necessity of a verb; hence, comma splices and sentence fragments were abundant in written work.
In his 2012 column “Rising black social pathology” , Walter Williams wrote: “Over the past couple of decades, I’ve attended neighborhood reunions. I’ve asked whether any of us recall classmates who couldn’t read, write or perform simple calculations, and none of us does.” Haulk opines, too, that “meaningful improvement in academic achievement” via low qualifications is a recipe for failure at the college level.
Today’s students lack passion or excitement for learning. Sadly, Mr. Haulk, many don’t want to work toward what the Pittsburgh Promise affords them: an opportunity for a successful future.
A co-ed told me after the Promise was announced in 2007: “That’s great. But how am I supposed to get there? Are they going to buy me a new car, too?”
Marva Collins summed it up best: “Success doesn’t come to you … you go to it.”
The writer is a retired Pittsburgh Public Schools teacher.