Public education is having a difficult time. The San Antonio Schools and districts nationwide are struggling to meet No Child Left Behind (NCLB) mandates and stricter state standards. One effect it has is that districts like the San Antonio Schools are being forced to raise their standards. Another effect is that time and funds are being routed to purchasing standardized tests, test preparation, and additional staff to meet newer requirements. None of these results is strictly good or bad. They all have positive and negative consequences on the San Antonio Schools. That is exactly why NCLB has stirred up such controversy.
How the San Antonio Schools Must Respond
One of the challenges is how the San Antonio Schools can meet higher standards and the need for more teachers on a public school district’s always limited budget. Frankly, it’s easy to point out the problems with a national program like NCLB. But even for someone like myself who thinks that standardized tests should be only one of many assessments used to gauge a student’s progress, I have to admit that the pressure forces schools to improve in some areas. Just the sudden appearance of school rankings for k-12 general interest on websites and in local and national newspapers puts pressure on the San Antonio Schools to perform at their peak level. But the truth is that the schools can’t do it alone.
One method that the San Antonio Schools is using to help boost student achievement is by tapping into community resources. Business partners and community mentors are one of the best resources that the San Antonio Schools have. Business partners can help the San Antonio Schools with financial contributions, technology donations and expertise, career guidance for students, and the implementation of practical student internships. Mentors can provide students in San Antonio Schools with positive role models, individual tutoring, personal support, and classroom assistance.
The other essential component of using local businesses and residents to boost students’ achievement is that it bonds the community with a common goal. Senior citizens on a fixed income are less likely to grumble about their taxes if they know the San Antonio Schools’ students that money is helping. And the retired community around the San Antonio Schools has a wealth of knowledge and information that many are willing to share.
Scholarships in the San Antonio Schools
Local businesses, community groups and the University of Texas have all come together to offer the San Antonio: Making Mentoring a Partnership Scholarship program. This project provides a minimum of two years of mentoring to San Antonio Schools’ students who meet certain requirements which include a minimum 2.5 grade point average, and financial need.
This is exactly the type of program that we need to see more of. Community involvement and partnerships with corporate America are the only ways that the public school system can achieve its goals and provide students with a quality education.