Chess player Garry Kasparov at an event from the Harlem Children's Zone, a nationally-celebrated program devoted to impacting kids at a young age. Photo by Mig Greengard.
Two hundred fifty students from the largely troubled neighborhoods of North Philadelphia will receive full, four-year scholarships to neighobring Temple University, my alma mater, during the next decade, as the Inquirer reported.
It’s a generous effort from a major urban research university often called on for more outreach in its surrounding communities. Good things, warm stories and, surely, great public relations will come as a result. Of a student population numbering nearly 30,000, 250 may seem small, but it’s always worth valuing.
All that said, a friend summed up my exact reaction to the situation. This is a kind, relatively easy, relatively small move. It ignores the reality that the biggest impact on the development of young people happens long before they are applying for college.
“[Temple] should have given full-day preschool from birth and full-day kindergarten to 250 neighboring kids and intensive parental training to 250 neighborhood new parents 18 years ago. That would have been more effective and ultimately cheaper.” - Dan Pohlig
Temple, of course, is a university, so offering those scholarships have precedence there. This is a fine act, but there are bigger issues and more interesting approaches to take on.
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