Recruiting disadvantaged youth to succeed

Edu­ca­tors in Brazil  have embarked on a liberal-arts cur­ricu­lum that includes lan­guage, math­e­mat­ics and sta­tis­tics, human­i­ties and the arts, the nat­ural sci­ences, and the bio­log­i­cal and health sci­ences as an exper­i­ment for recruit­ment and meet­ing the edu­ca­tional needs of an extemely diverse stu­dent population.  They posit that dis­ad­van­taged stu­dents needed to learn more about abstract rea­son­ing, the nat­ural world, quan­ti­ta­tive and qual­i­ta­tive research, and other sub­jects they would oth­er­wise never encounter.  Below are two perspectives; an admin­is­tra­tor and a stu­dent  in the program.…..

“These kids haven’t seen great films, they haven’t read great lit­er­a­ture, they don’t speak for­eign lan­guages,” Mr. Kno­bel says. “I think it will open doors and broaden horizons.”

“The most dif­fi­cult thing is adapt­ing to the pace, to the demands, being in class all day long,” says Ms. Vale­ria, recall­ing her first year. “At school we stud­ied five hours a day. We are here from 10 to 6. There’s a lot of read­ing and a lot to take in.”

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