The pervasive myth of kids just needing “grit” and lifting themselves up by their own bootstraps is false and is doing real harm.Our guest today Linda Nathan spent fourteen years as founder and co-headmaster of Boston Arts Academy, Boston’s only public high school for the visual and performing arts. Linda Nathan began every year with a promise to the freshman class: all of them would graduate and continue on to either college or a career. And she came to realize the promise could not be kept. Now, in her new book When Grit Isn’t Enough: A High School Principal Examines How Poverty and Inequality Thwart the College-for-All Promise, Nathan confronts long-held assumptions about college access and takes a sobering look at how current practices and policies actually serve to push poor and first-generation students not onto but off the college track. She discovered how career and technical education done well might provide a viable alternative to the four-year degree. What young people need for success are multiple points of entry.

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