We'd like to give State Sen. John Eichelberger the benefit of the doubt for a flap he created while addressing a town-hall meeting with constituents in Carlisle. During a wide-ranging discussion about education issues, Eichelberger turned his attention to Philadelphia and complained that money was being misspent pushing minority students into college instead of into vocational programs.
"They're pushing them toward college, and they're dropping out," Eichelberger said. "They fall back and don't succeed, whereas if there was a less intensive track, they would."
Some city and state leaders were outraged at the suggestion that minority students should be put on a less ambitious track.
We agree that vocational programs can be a great alternative for some students and that expanding options for all students is key. In the days that followed Eichelberger's town hall, he attempted to explain that that was what he meant all along. But we're still troubled by his comments, for many reasons.