I keep seeing posts on Facebook about voting for schools on Target’s website. Have y’all seen these? The gist is that there’s a Facebook app through which you can vote for the K-12 school of your choice. For every 25 votes that school receives, Target will send the school a $25 gift card to buy supplies and books.
Many of my friends who have school-aged children have been posting links to this app, asking everyone to vote for their child’s school. I was just about to vote for one of these schools, but then I started thinking: why vote for a school that I know is “good”, with students whose parents can afford to buy their own supplies and who have internet access with which to vote? Why not find a school that’s really struggling and try to get people to vote for THAT one?
I can’t remember if I have mentioned this on this blog or not, but I’m currently on hiatus from a graduate school program to obtain my teaching certificate. In one of my pre-hiatus classes, we learned a lot about the problems with public education in the United States. Specifically, we learned about the inequities that occur between schools and the huge differences in quality of education between schools. It should come as no surprise to learn that these differences usually correlate with the socio-economic status of the populations the schools serve. Furthermore, the problems are exacerbated by No Child Left Behind, which penalizes underperforming schools by reducing federal funding. (This makes no sense to me, but that’s a rant for a different day.)
So anyway. Back to Target. With all this in mind, I googled something like, “worst public school in america” and came across this list: NeighborhoodScout’s Worst Public Schools in America. I then scrolled down to the end of the list (assuming #1 is the very worst) and chose a school from the bottom 10: Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans, LA. Why this one and not the #1? For a few reasons: (1) I love New Orleans. (2) I wanted to pick a high school, because I feel like those kids are old enough to have lost hope, and maybe some random Target gift card money for supplies could help save them from being as jaded or hopeless as they might feel. (3) I didn’t want to choose a charter school. I don’t know a lot about charter schools, but I think parents who send their kids to a charter school usually have a public school option in their area as well. If they’ve chosen a crummy charter school over a less crummy public school, well…they can make the change back to public school.
If you’d like some statistics on Walter L. Cohen High School, here you go:
99.3% of its students are black. 76% of the students are eligible for free or discounted lunch. In 2011, only 12% of the school’s students met the standard in 10th grade language arts standardized testing for the state’s Graduation Exit Exam (whereas the state’s percentage was 56%). The school’s overall performance is below 5%.
Now, don’t y’all think this school could use a little help? I have a feeling a Target gift card will just barely scratch the surface of all this school needs, but…doesn’t it feel good to imagine that it would at least help a little?
So. Although I have practically no readers these days, this post is part of my attempt to get people voting for Walter L. Cohen High School. Just click the link below and enter “Walter L. Cohen” in the school name spot, and “new orleans” in the city/state spot, and it should come right up. We only have until September 8 at 11:59 p.m. to make this happen, so please – spread the word. Let’s go viral, people!