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Raise.me Redux

November 28, 2016

This weekend Dian Ravitch featured a post criticizing Raise.me for its practice of gathering and selling data on students as part of it’s micro-scholarship initiative. While I find this kind of scheme distasteful, I also know that the issue of raising money to go to college is real for most parents, particularly for parents who are experiencing economic challenges themselves. That led me to leave this comment:

This sounded familiar to me and I found that I had reacted to a NYTImes article on this program several months ago.

I am as troubled about the premise behind Raise.me as I am by the data collection and I see a conundrum in dismissing this kind of program. My concerns are noted in the closing paragraph, “While I wish that a students primary motive was learning for its own sake, our culture and our political environment at this point sees education solely as a means of earning more money.”

And here’s a conundrum: many parents actively discourage their children from pursuing more education because they do not believe it is within their reach financially. When I was principal at a rural HS in ME in the late 1970s I heard this from parents and as superintendent in Western MD in the early 1990s I heard this from the Principals who led the rural schools in that district. I sure that today there are many parents tell their children to not even THINK about college because it is too expensive. If a program like Raise.me provides some of those students with a means of addressing that very real concern on the part of their parents, MAYBE the trade off is worth it.

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