Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Community relations

As long time readers of this blog know, I am a big fan of the residential math, science (and occasionally humanities) high schools that a number of states have created for gifted students. These schools offer advanced classes and let young people learn in an environment with their intellectual peers.

The problem, of course, is that in an era of tight funding, such schools look suspiciously like "extras" that are not strictly necessary to fulfill state constitutional requirements of offering students a K-12 education. So they are a tempting target for cuts.

But what if you could extend the reach of your resources, and create a larger constituency? Would that incline the larger community toward you? It's an interesting political question, aside from being an interesting thing to do in general to further educational goals. So I was happy to see that the Indiana Academy, where I went to high school, is offering summer classes to kids in elementary to high school grades, and some for adults too. People can learn about biomedicine, programming, Legos, Japan, etc. Indiana Academy students are also available for tutoring kids in math and science subjects.

It's a smart move. Every child tutored will potentially do better in school, but beyond that, every child tutored creates another family that may or may not ever send a kid to the Indiana Academy, but will think fondly of the school nonetheless.

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