ADECA leaves students cold

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 30, 2003

If the great educational rallying cry of the Bush adminstration has been "No child left behind,"

then the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) seems to be "What child?"

The government agency, which several years ago began a program to help at-risk high school students not only complete their high school education, but get a two-year degree from a

trade school, has stopped the funding. Those children who were promised something better have been left high and dry.

Dr. Timothy Lull, superintendent of Opp City Schools, recognizes what ADECA does not - a moral obligation to finish the job. Poverty level students who are at risk of dropping out were rescued, only to be left at risk again by the very agency that rescued them. How much faith can they have in a government that promises aid, then disappears, promises unfulfilled? We agree with Lull that ADECA could have done better by these students. If they were forced to make such severe budget cuts that the Middle College High School program had to be sacrificed, we cannot believe they would not be able to find the money for six or seven students to finish what ADECA started. They could have continued with these students, already involved, and phased out slowly by not enrolling any new students. Instead, they cut and run.

Kudos to Opp City School for taking up the government's slack and trying to help these six or seven students. The school administration recognizes the fact that "No child left behind" means no child, not just one or two groups here and there. With hundreds enrolled in their system, they will do their best for these few, and for them all. We hope there are like-minded people on the scholarship committees of area schools who will feel the same and help when and where they can.

Today's children are far more cynical than their predecessors, and continue to get more so. Can we blame them? No. Can we blame the agencies that consistently let them down? Yes. With more efforts made like those of the Opp Board of Education, perhaps we can replace that cynicism with hope.