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January 22, 2013 at 5:00 PM

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College Bound Scholarship provides opportunities for underprivileged communities

Counselors are integral to the process

There has been much written lately about the College Bound Scholarship program [“College bound: a right to educational opportunity,” Opinion, Jan. 21]. The first class to reap the benefits of this scholarship graduated from our high schools last year. As a high-school counselor, I saw for myself how this program caused students to head to college who would have never imagined it possible.

The College Success Foundation has certainly been a star in this process and has received much well-deserved press. However, the program also requires sustained effort by hundreds of middle-school counselors who track down and encourage families to sign up for the program.

Hundreds more high-school counselors follow these students for four years. During their senior year, they help them to decide on colleges, complete admission applications and their Free Application for Federal Student Aid FAFSA, and see the rewards from all of their hard work in the award letters they receive from those colleges.

Yes, we were helped by the College Success Foundation, but in most cases it was our public-school counselors who really made it happen for these kids. I think I speak for my colleagues around the state when I say I am extremely proud of the kids who stuck with me through the application process and started college this past fall. It was a pleasure, and no small amount of work, to help them succeed.

--Carollynn Hanson, college and career counselor, Auburn Mountainview High School, Auburn

Poverty is the cause for disparity in academic success

Your editorial today about the College Bound Scholarship program shows that it is so worthwhile but it underscores my opinion that disparities in educational achievement are rooted in poverty, not in the need to reform our public schools.

All my working life, I worked with public schools. In the eighties, with the administration of Ronald Reagan, there began a Republican war on public education. We have been subjected to constant barrages of how poor our schools are and what new reform movement should be launched to improve them. Teachers and school personnel that I have known want nothing more than to help young people succeed and become contributing citizens.

The editorial on Jan. 9, asking teachers to drop their challenge to charter schools, I believe, is misguided [“Union should drop suit to block charters,” Opinion]. Charter schools are an effort to privatize public education. They should not be drawing money from our tax dollars for essentially a private school.

Don’t listen to the chorus of how poor our schools, but pitch in and support them by volunteering or by supporting them through paying our taxes.

--Virginia Rogalsky, Bellevue


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