Elite University Starts Schooling Prison Inmates Elite University Starts Schooling Prison Inmates
Education

Elite University Starts Schooling Prison Inmates

by Siobhan O'Connor

November 19, 2009
Well this is something: Wesleyan, one of the country's more elite schools, has started a program where inmates in a nearby high-security prison can take some of its classes. Not dumbed-down versions either, thank god: these are real, academically rigorous, competitive-to-get-into college classes.Whether the credits can add up to a degree depends on how long the program lasts. I seriously hope they get it together to keep this program in place and funded, because education has long been considered a key tool in the anti-recidivism toolbox, and this program, were it to spark even more like it, could make a big statement. (Hey, it also might even help reverse Clinton's sucky 1994 law, which said that Pell grants could not fund prisoners' education.) In the mean time, Wesleyan insists that an inmate's A means the same thing as a traditional student's A.Other universities have tried similar experiments, but not quite like this. For starters, Wesleyan's program is exclusive, admitting only 16 percent of applicants. It's also academically rigorous: students were chosen based on their chops, not just based on their interest.The article is amazing but perhaps even more amazing is the interactive portion where you can see the inmates' sentencing information and, even better, read their fascinating application essays.
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Elite University Starts Schooling Prison Inmates