Enough Already?

It’s the 2nd day of school and already students and parents are in an uproar over the tiffs over college applications and high school seniors. For the past few weeks, there have been articles written regarding the number of applications high school seniors should complete.

There has been serious debate over how many applications is enough and how strategic is it for seniors to apply to over 20 schools especially considering application fees and the time it takes to complete lengthy application questions and provide supplemental documents. Who has time for all of that? Who has money to go towards application fees? What is the purpose of this? All of these are valid questions that has been raised by parents, students, and community members. Those of us in the educational arena ponder and shrug our shoulders, not sure about the why?

I recently received a text message from my cousin telling me about an allegation at a local high school that’s threatening to issue Fs for every student who does not complete at least 20 applications. Of course, my reply to this was a simple, “Whattttttt?”

I didn’t understand or maybe I did and simply needed clarity. I wanted my cousin to be wrong about what she heard and was passing on to me? She went on to share with me the conversation she had with our younger cousin who is an alumni of the high school and now has two younger sisters attending the school, one of them being in the current graduating class of the school.

Her younger sister informed her of the English teacher’s threat and like any student’s response when threatened with a failing grade, she responded angrily by telling someone which was her sister. Of course, the cousin patrol got on it.

They took the issue to Facebook which sparked a heated discussion between my cousins, some alumni of the school, educational advocates, and experts that have years of experience working with high school seniors and college admissions.

The post which began like this-

I will NOT be supporting my High School Alma Mater after the recent B.S. that I have heard about seniors applying to colleges and their English grades. Pure coonery when a lot of those kids do not know how to read or write properly. Miss me with propaganda. I'm only here for true education equality and having these kids really pursuing their dreams on their OWN path. Oh, and are we going to even talk about funding them for the mess and/or ACT scores? There are pros and cons to every path? You've lost a tiger. Don't care how you feel. Let's support our students of color the RIGHT way and not sabotage them with grades.

One of those experts who weighed in was the gladiator herself, Memphis native and Director of Advocacy for the Memphis Education Fund Tosha Downey who responded with this wise counsel:

“Not 100 applications. No counselor worth his/her salt advises students to do that. My daughters crushed the scholarship game, got almost a million dollars and applied to LESS THAN 10 schools. They also had time to visit schools, talk to admissions offices, play tennis and run track, and focus on a balanced senior year. They chose schools that were an exceptionally good fit for them. They got great internships, studied abroad, and finished with almost NO DEBT. People are missing the goal.”

Many chimed in and were tagged, including School Board Commissioner Miska Clay Bibbs, who asked for clarity and was interested in learning more. Even though this is an ongoing story, what’s evident is more individuals have become enlightened and aware of events happening inside of their school walls.  Whether we as the public agree or disagree, people are speaking up about what’s occurring and lending their voice to issues that concern them.

I am personally proud of my cousin for her bold stance - for using a social media platform to simply shine a light on an issue and ultimately advocating, not just on the behalf of her sister, but for all kids by seeing the bigger infraction against students.

I’m intrigued to see how this story develops. Below are a few of the articles written about this issue that has circulated most recently. Please feel free to catch up and read up!

My high school told me to apply to 100 colleges — and I almost lost myself in the process

Memphis school leaders want to know if ‘million-dollar scholar’ campaigns are hurting more than helping

They Each Applied to More Than 100 Colleges. That May Be the Problem.

And again, it's only the second day. 178 more to go. Stay tuned.