Echoing Green Fellow: Equal Opportunity Education
With Memorial Day now behind us, summer is officially here to stay. That means that scheduling decisions for many high school students are being made. Reid Saaris, founder of Equal Opportunity Schools, wants all kids to understand the benefits of Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) classes.
EOS is a program that helps schools and school systems identify students who would be able to handle these more advanced and college prep classes, but are not being pushed into such scheduling options.
My high school, a big public institution, had a system for students not on the AP track. If they consistently did well (receiving A’s) in the “regular” classes, they would be bumped up to honors and eventually AP classes. However, there wasn’t a lot of diversity in my school.
Part of the problem in identifying such students, according to Saaris, is that African American, Latino and low-income students are less informed about the benefits of these college prep classes, even though they are just as likely to be in a school that offers them.
With simple and inexpensive instruction from teachers, and a standard procedure for “bumping up” students, less informed students can flourish in the school environment they need to get to college. The “expectation gap,” as Saaris calls it, can be eliminated.
Equal Opportunity Schools helps schools develop these systems to ensure that capable students are encouraged into programs that can help them achieve their college goals.
Saaris has also been named a 2011 Echoing Green Fellow.
by JD Hancock via Flickr