There’s a moment when you’re sitting next to someone, you have something else to do, you completely distracted and indifferent to their conversation, and a sentence comes out like: “I think I have a pretty good chance of getting it.. I mean when I went to the meeting it was all just a bunch of ghetto kids.. Like from the west side or something.” I was sitting in my school’s library doing my US history reading at a table with three girls. They were talking about colleges they were applying to. But then they shift the topic toward the POSSE scholarship.
I would have thought that a John Dewey education at the U of C lab school would have instilled a bit more conscientiousness. First of all, POSSE is intended for students with leadership potential and may be overlooked by elite schools in the traditional application process. This means giving a chance to students who have gone through public city school systems or maybe live on the west side of Chicago.
Note that this comment was made in the library of a endowed school, with a mission of cultivating a diverse community for learning. What has developed in parts (certainly not all parts) of this environment is an assumption of intellectual superiority due to the clout of our school, which delegitimizes the potential of others. The Lab School ethos functions on the idea that everyone in our community is smart, but that it is those who succeed are those who work the hardest. What is absent in this philosophy is any account for people who have disadvantage circumstances or who, thus far, have not been given the same educational opportunities as we have here. POSSE works to combat that.