I’m the proud parent of two graduating seniors who are college bound. Right now, we are approximately one month away from graduation and the mood in our home is celebratory.
The journey has not been easy for them or me. Making sure my son was staying on track in high school during his freshman and sophomore was a full-time job! There were a lot of late nights of making sure assignments were completed and making sure he was attending tutoring sessions.
Fast forward to his junior year of high school, he needed little oversight with his school work. When I asked him if he finally figured out he had to graduate from high school his response was, “No, I realized I have to get into college.” I was a little taken back by his response because there were days that I was just trying to get him through high school and hopefully into college.
Senior year came around and he applied to several colleges and completed scholarship applications. He was accepted to several colleges and received multiple scholarship offers. One day, we were discussing his options and he said, “I used to think, ‘Why is mom making me do all this?’ I’m never going to make it to college.”
As my son is excited to start his college journey, I’m concerned about the idea of putting technical schools into our high schools and the focus on workforce readiness through the new graduation pathways. Although I do see the benefit, I can’t help but think how many children like my son would not be pushed to work to their full potential. If my son was labeled his freshman year of high school as a student who wasn't college material based on his struggles to balance the high school academic load during his first year, no one would have put him on a college track.
I agree that college isn’t for everyone, but we have to be careful not to steer children away from college especially not children of color.