Meier: I personally hate the term "college prep." I want our students to be prepped for the real world, and I hope colleges do, too. On the whole, the thing that best helped us get kids into colleges were the kids themselves. They were unusually well prepared to carry on a conversation with adults in a thoughtful and lively way.


Pondiscio: None of these activities are as important as the message they send to the predominantly low-income kids of color we serve: your voice matters, and you have a duty to use it.


Meier: What is obvious to me about the schools that work well is that the students and their families have overcome the "us" vs. "them" pattern.


Pondiscio: "Innovation," even in small entrepreneurial schools, tends to be an idea more honored in the breach than the observance. Here I think the reform impulse bears a disproportionate amount of blame.


Deborah Meier: But if we could start with the question of what a good school needs and then build a system based on that, it doesn't seem as undoable.


The opinions expressed in Bridging Differences are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.

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