Bringing education to the streets

For young people who never received their high school diploma and have given up on ever getting it, the Five Keys Charter School in the poorest neighborhood of San Francisco offers hope (“You Got Your High School Diploma?” Los Angeles Times, Apr. 7).  While nothing can ever replace a traditional curriculum on a campus where students interact, Five Keys is doing a commendable job.

Using a dilapidated bus, Five Keys administers a placement test and then through one-on-one instruction its teachers helps students qualify for a high school diploma. The school first opened in a San Francisco jail and now has about 2,000 active students.  Students come from chaotic backgrounds that have been made worse by the choices they’ve made since dropping out of high school.  Nevertheless, most persevere, realizing that Five Keys is their last chance to improve their lives.

The emotional support provided by teachers there often is the difference between success and failure.  I hope the model provided by Five Keys can be replicated in other cities across the nation.  The need is acute and the benefits are incalculable.

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