To the Editor:
Our TRIO community is shocked and deeply disappointed by the official announcement of the proposed elimination of Upward Bound and Talent Search.
We are dismayed by the news that GEAR-UP is on the administration’s hit list as well.
Programs like Upward Bound, Talent Search and GEAR-UP serve first generation low-income students who need a little extra assistance to become educated, productive tax-paying adults.
It is tragically short-sighted of the Bush administration to seek to end to these programs in the name of No Child Left Behind. Are standardized tests in high schools a reasonable substitute for one-on-one mentoring and rigorous instruction for students who have low aspirations and few family resources? Clearly not!
The proposed budget’s supporting document claims that Upward Bound is ineffective, citing the Office of Management and Budget’s PART score. Ironically, the low-scoring section of the evaluation was tied to a lack of data that could only have been provided by the Department of Education. If you don’t have the data to measure the progress of the program, how can you judge it to be ineffective?
Our community will aggressively address this spurious assault on Upward Bound and Talent Search. Many students present and past will speak out about the value of the programs and the positive impact on their lives.
We are confident that members of Congress will object to this wholesale disposal of popular and successful programs that, since 1965, have helped two million first generation students earn college degrees and find rewarding careers.
Dr. Arnold Mitchem
President, Council for Opportunity in Education