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Newspaper Article

    SMART Grants Hold Promise for Low Income Students

    BY Kim Trobee
    01/31/2006

    A new program from Washington is offering federal money to low income third and fourth year college students who are studying the hard sciences. They’re called “SMART” grants and Senator Mike Enzi of Wyoming says they offer incentives to college students from underserved communities with the goal of getting them into high tech fields.

    “The need for national security calls for math, science, engineering and some form of language capabilities that we’re lacking in the present time and we see an even greater gap in the future.”

    But not everyone is applauding. While the grants are touted as assistance for those who can’t afford to pursue the hard sciences Max Pappas with Freedom Works thinks there’s a better way to help students who come from impoverished areas.
    “At first glance it seems like a good thing to be concerned about our national competitiveness, but I think if the government is really concerned about helping out and improving education for lower income families, what they need to do is offer a way out of the failing public schools in the poor neighborhoods.”

    He says Washington should spend the more than two billion dollars tied to the program on a voucher plan. It would give parents the freedom and ability to choose quality schools, even if they’re private, and sever the shackles tying them to failing public schools.

    by Kim Trobee on 1/31/06.