Pressure, pressure, pressure. Students in all grades can be under an enormous amount of pressure to succeed while in school. Kindergartners must learn to read, add, and subtract before they finish their first year of school. In some places, students must pass certain state tests in order to be promoted to the next grade level. More and more emphasis is being placed on the importance of a rigorous academic program for middle- and high-school students, with the end result of attending a college or university. Is all this necessary? Well, legislators, the president, and local district officials believe so. Many parents also agree that kids need to graduate from high school ready to go on to college. Leaders of Pittsburgh Public Schools and of Pittsburgh itself plan to institute a new plan to motivate even more students to seek out a college education.
The Pittsburgh Schools have issued what it calls “The Pittsburgh Promise,” pledging that starting in 2008, all graduates who meet certain Pittsburgh Schools standards will have the means of getting post-secondary education. Wow! What a great idea! There are most likely some Pittsburgh Schools students who don’t even dream of going to college, simply because their families can’t afford it. Imagine, if you will, a Pittsburgh Schools family of blue-collar workers who have not had any of its members attend college. It is their dream for their children to go to college and have a better life; if this new program is indeed successful, this dream will most likely become a reality!
The Pittsburgh Schools district and the city hope to raise $5 million to $7 million a year to make college or other post-secondary education affordable. To access the money, Pittsburgh Schools students will have to attend one of the Pittsburgh Schools, do their work, stay out of trouble, and graduate. It’s truly admirable to see that the city leaders, community leaders and the Pittsburgh Schools leaders recognize the difficulties that lay in the path of some of these students to actually attend college.
More and more, even some “blue-collar” jobs are requiring a minimum of a 2-year degree. Firefighters, carpenters, even cosmetologists can attend a community college where they receive the training their prospective employers are looking for. The students of Pittsburgh Schools who are on the vocational path will now have the opportunity to go to college, no matter what their family’s financial situation might be. What a wonderful graduation gift Pittsburgh Schools students could receive upon leaving high school! Since society and the government are forever clamoring about how far behind our students are as compared to other students around the world, kudos to Pittsburgh Schools and the city of Pittsburgh for doing their part to get more kids in college.