Marhsall Vs. Austin: Who Covered It Better?

image from s.wsj.netStephanie Banchero's big story on the turnaround effort at Marshall High went live over the weekend (School Reform, Chicago Style) full of pics and graphs and charts as well as words.  At roughly the same time, CNC's latest on Austin Polytechnic is up online and in the NYT (Troubled West Side School Celebrates a Milestone) also full of pics and with some video (but no graphs and charts).  Who did it better, in terms of telling a rich, well-reported story -- the WSJ or CNC?  Which school do you think is most likely to thrive in the near future?  (Or, if you don't like those choices, you can tell us which of the many stories about Marshall that have come out this year were most insightful and interesting.)

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  • One problem with the CNC article that I noticed was that it indicated that one of the students that was being followed this year graduated in the top ten of her class and according to the article "will attend college at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, where she will play basketball and pursue a degree in engineering."

    The problem is the school does not offer an Engineering degree. It has a transfer program in Engineering. The University offers a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, and Industrial Technology. The school offers a major called pre-Engineering.

    The University of Arkansas College of Engineering is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas not Pine Bluff. In order for the student to transfer into this college she is going to have to do very well at Pine Bluff. Schools of Engineering are very difficult and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is one of the best. It requires stellar ACT scores and a very high GPA. My youngest daughter is currently a senior majoring in Agricultural Economics at Urbana-Champaign and many of her friends are in the College of Engineering, they work very, very hard. She had a 3.5 GPA at Payton and a composite ACT of 31 with a math sub score of 32 and had no chance at all in getting admitted to the College of Engineering.

    I honestly think the Austin student must be a great student but the article really made it sound like she was admitted to a School of Engineering which is a very big accomplishment given the admissions standards to these colleges. It also needs to be understood that the Pine Bluff campus has a lower admissions standard than does the Fayetteville campus, just like the University of Illinois system does with some of its non-Urbana campuses. But Pine Bluff admissions standards appeared to be lower than SIU, NIU, Western, or Eastern Illinois based on the link the article provided.

    I think Austin Polytechnic has every right to be proud of this student. But the article really needed to be more balanced in presenting the sucess because if she is going to pursue an Engineering degree she has a long struggle in front of her yet to come. These programs are very hard.

    Rod Estvan

    [ed note - student name removed by request]

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