Happening Today: Education Week Leadership Symposium. Learn more and register.
Education Letter to the Editor

SEED School: Not the Only Public Boarding School

April 25, 2006 1 min read

To the Editor:

In the opening sentence of your article about the District of Columbia’s School for Educational Evolution and Development, or SEED School (“Public Boarding School Seeking to Expand,” March 22, 2006), you describe it as “the nation’s only public boarding school.”

To set the record straight, there are numerous highly successful public boarding schools in the South, the one with which I am most familiar being the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science. It draws students from across the state of Alabama, and all students reside at the school, at a cost of less than $20,000 per student per year. During the seven years I served as the school’s director, I do not recall a single graduate who did not go on to an institution of higher education.

Many of the students at the Alabama School of Mathematics and Science come from rural areas, and the purpose of the school, as set up by the state, is to provide promising math and science students with opportunities for advanced study that are not available to them in their local schools.

Other Southern states also have such boarding schools, and all are highly successful. If there is a model of successful schools that should be replicated across the nation, it is the model of Southern math and science public boarding schools, which were first started by the state of North Carolina in the 1980s.

David Laurenson

Professor of Secondary Education

City University of New York

Queens College

Flushing, N.Y.