Friday, February 20, 2009

In the Spotlight

February 20, 2009- Every school kid that’s read 1984, will tell you that big government hovering over your shoulder is a “a hideous ecstasy of fear and vindictiveness”, right?

According to George Orwell and your English class curriculum, the fact that “it was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time” became one of our greatest fears...at least until we passed the test and moved onto A Tale of Two Cities. Now we knew for sure oppression could be overcome.

Fortunately, we’ve long survived the year 1984 with no Big Brother and our revolutions these days are more musical than military. Now here we are in 2009 welcoming a sweeping government stimulus package designed to hone in on certain sectors in need of help. Far from fearing the Thought Police of American fiction, industries like banking, mortgages and education are hoping the government steps in to turn things around. In addition to securing funding, stepping in means more attention, more support and more accountability.

For example, this week the Department of Education, through its new Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, announced that it will take a close look at the City of Detroit and its educational system.

At ConnectEDU, we hope they do take a close look so they can learn about how counselors in the Detroit Public School system are proactively finding opportunity in the wake of a crisis – long before talks of a stimulus package and long before the federal spotlight descended upon the schools.

The Detroit Public Schools are bringing their students new technology to help them plan their future. By deploying innovative college and career planning tools at all the high schools in the district at no cost, counselors are making strides to improve college access and to connect their students to higher education opportunities. Already, over 3,000 students have been registered in the network and over 2,000 electronic admission documents are being exchanged. Thousands more are being registered this spring to make sure all students have the tools and resources they need to help them succeed.

With the hard work of the counselors in the Detroit Public Schools, we know DPS will be a success story. We know counselors will help their students find the best options. And we know students from Detroit will make it to the spotlight for all the right reasons. Just watch and see.

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