Wednesday, January 03, 2007
From The New York Times…
Giving Minority Students a Push Along the Path to Leadership Roles
By CLARA HEMPHILL
On a recent cold Saturday, when most children around the city were relaxing after a week at school, 320 boys and girls, ages 10 to 13, filed into Nightingale-Bamford, a private girls’ school in a stately brick building on the Upper East Side.
The children, most black or Hispanic, were going to be interviewed for a shot at admission to a private day or boarding school, or an elite suburban public school, through A Better Chance, a nonprofit group. The boys wore jackets and neckties. The girls were in prim skirts or nicely pressed trousers. Some were confident, but many were nervous, folding and unfolding their hands, sitting up extra straight as they waited to be interviewed. The stakes, after all, were high.
The program’s mission is to increase the number of minority men and women in leadership positions. It is really about social mobility, whisking children out of their environment in urban neighborhoods and transporting them to institutions that are incubators for presidents, senators and titans of industry — like Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., President Bush’s alma mater.
“These schools are pathways to influence and power in our society,” said Sandra Simmons, the president of the group, pointing out that Governor-elect Deval L. Patrick of Massachusetts, the state’s first black governor, is an alumnus of the program.
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