Saturday, January 10, 2009

A memory that popped up

A few years back I was in a meeting with the chair of another department, the president of our college and two higher-ups from the local school system (public school system for the largest city in the state).

The purpose of the meeting was to see if my Basic ESL program could come up with a way to "transition" some of the refugee students who were currently in 9th-12th grade out of the public schools and into my program so they could get the language/literacy help they needed that the school system was not able to provide (budget, in large part).

Not a problem on my end of things. We were still a fairly young program and I was pleased by the confidence shown by the College and by the schools.

Then -- sigh -- one of the school system folks said that they really needed to get these people out of the school system because they were dragging down the overall proficiency test scores.

Y'know, he could have left that part out ...
I didn't respond -- and that's a really hard thing for me -- because I had a feeling there might be career implications. After all, I was sitting next to the president.

Anyway, the conversation ended after the question of -- you guessed it! -- money came up. Someone was going to need to pay the fees for these students. In my program, fees are pretty darn low, but I have to bring in enough money to pay my instructors (as well as myself!), buy materials and so forth.

The school system folks said they'd see if they could get any grant money and get back to us. I've pretty much stopped waiting.