So My Students Can Eat
This year, before I can address critical thinking and workforce skills, my students need to eat. I have a plan.
For Pell-eligible students, (poor), flip the $978 million Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) into the Study-Work Program (FSW). Pay students $10 an hour, ten hours a week to study in designated, supervised places at the community college or in a public library. The students swipe a card on the way in and out. They are paid electronically each week for their study time the previous week. Cap payments at $1,200 per semester.
Students have been crying in my office at Bunker Hill Community College every week since September and, some weeks, every day. Hungry. Often homeless. Often jobless.
One who was hungry and nearly homeless had an A in calculus. “Have you eaten today?” is a question I use more often than “Do you need help with your homework?” She wouldn’t say. As the student cried in my office and spoke with a gentle colleague, I bought a sandwich, some fruit, and a bottle of orange juice from the cafeteria. The student drank the juice and put the food in her bag to take home.