Income Based Eligibility…Seriously?

As a mother and a decent human being, I never want a child, mine included, to feel like they are unable to participate in something they are interested in based on financial status. You can imagine my fuming rage when I got a note sent home about a free after school STEM program at my oldest son’s school that determined eligibility based on family income.

STEM talent (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) is something that employers are looking at more and more because these jobs are going unfilled due to a lack of interest from students. I am glad to see that schools are pushing these programs through their curriculum in order to attract students and build talent for these areas. These are hot commodity jobs and I think it’s great that STEM is getting more recognition.

HOWEVER.

And this is a big big issue with me personally – I don’t think it is fair to try and decide who can participate in any program based on their families income.

What does income have to do with it? If a child shows a true interest in one of the fields educators claim are lacking, why do their parents have to be in a financially difficult position for the child to participate? Why should a child who is interested be unable to participate because their parents are in a better financial situation than these standards dictate?

Shouldn’t the program allow students to participate based on interest and capability? You would think that schools wouldn’t isolate their talent pool of students based on income, especially if they are offering it as a free program regardless. If a school offers a program for free, it should be free to all. If you charge a fee for students to participate and expect you may lose potential talent due to income, set up a scholarship option. But don’t isolate kids from the beginning. No one wins in that situation.

All I am saying is that schools shouldn’t say, “there is a strong need for STEM talent,” and follow that up with, “but only low-income students are eligible.”  We should let these types of programs be driven by capability and interest, not finances.

Talking out of both sides of one’s mouth is never an attractive trait.

3 thoughts on “Income Based Eligibility…Seriously?

  1. Josh Wrenn says:

    I agree, yes, there should be programs for low income students who don’t have the financial resources to pay for courses that more affluent families can afford. However, to only offer the program to low income students is horrible. STEM should be required curriculum, not just an extra program.

    Like

    • Ashley says:

      You’re absolutely right! If we are at the point of saying STEM is a desperate need for our workforce and students, why is it still an afterthought in our curriculums?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Josh Wrenn says:

        Because too many school systems are concerned with babysitting instead of teaching. Where I went to school, they took a half a grade off your ACADEMIC grade for each unexcused absence you had. So, if you were like me, you could ace every test, and still fail the classes. Then the people who they graduate don’t know the difference between lose and loose, can’t tell the difference between a a hard drive and a mouse, and believe that vaccines cause autism. Hooray for the education system!

        Like

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