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.