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History doesn’t repeat itself but it does sometimes rhyme.
“Stratton Park is the seat of Sir THOMAS BARING, who has here several thousand acres of land … Above all, he has Micheldever Wood, which, they say, contains a thousand acres, and which is one of the finest oak-woods in England. This large and very beautiful estate must have belonged to the Church at the time of Henry the Eighth’s “reformation.” It was, I believe given by him to the family of Russell; and, it was, by them, sold to Sir Francis Baring about twenty years ago…it seems to be acknowledged that any title is as good as those derived from the old wife-killer…A little girl, of whom I asked my way down into East Stratton, and who was dressed in a camlet (fabric of silk and wool-ed) gown, white apron and plaid cloak (it was Sunday), and who had a book in her hand, told me that Lady Baring gave her the clothes, and had her taught to read and to sing hymns and spiritual songs.
“As I came through the Strattons I saw not less than a dozen girls clad in this same way. It is impossible not to believe that this is done with a good motive; but, it is possible not to believe that it is productive of good. It must create hypocrites, and hypocrisy is the great sin of the age. Society is in a queer state when the rich think, that they must educate the poor in order to insure their own safety: for this, at bottom, is the great motive now at work in pushing on the education scheme, though in this particular case, perhaps, there may be a little enthusiasm at work. When persons are glutted with riches; when they have their fill of them; when they are surfeited of all earthly pursuits, they are very apt to begin to think about the next world; and, the moment they begin to think of that, they begin to look over the account that they shall have to present. Hence the far greater part of what are called “charities.” But, it is the business of governments to take care that there shall be very little of this glutting with riches, and very little need of “charities.”
--William Cobbett, Rural Rides, in entry for Nov. 17, 1822.
About the Paramount Bard Academy
The Paramount Bard Academy is a collaborative effort of the Resnick Foundation, the Paramount Agricultural Companies, Bard College, and community members of Delano, California.
The Academy is a unique initiative that raises expectations for students while providing a model that can contribute to significant growth in student achievement in the region. This charter school reaches out to Delano and other neighboring communities with the goal of educating a group of students that represent a demographic cross-section of the local districts.
The Academy builds on the model of early college high schools, a major initiative of the Gates Foundation that is demonstrating success in increasing the college-going rate of historically underserved students.
The Paramount Agricultural Companies are committed to increasing the number of students who graduate from high school prepared to succeed and complete college. Paramount consistently invests considerable resources to foster educational programming in local Central Valley communities. The Paramount Bard Academy is the most innovative educational initiative undertaken by Paramount.
Working in collaboration with Bard College, a private liberal arts college in New York, Paramount will build on Bard's success in operating two public high schools in New York City. In these two schools, students earn a high school diploma and a two-year college degree. Bard’s Master of Arts in Teaching Program (MAT) works closely with schools in the Hudson Valley and schools in the Bronx, supporting school change while educating teachers at the graduate level. Paramount is partnering with Bard's MAT Program to create a model charter school that builds on the accomplishments of the Delano School Districts. A primary goal of the Paramount Bard Academy is to graduate no less than 95% of all students with the expectation that 75% or more of these students will go on to graduate from college.
The participation of the Bard College Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) Program allows the creation of a school in which the students and faculty of a graduate teacher education program are participating members of the teaching and learning community. The active participation of the Bard MAT Program contributes to the development of innovative curriculum and pedagogy while effectively increasing the capacity of the school to deliver forms of instruction that are responsive to the individual needs of public school students.
The school opened in August 2009 with two- hundred students (100 students per grade), in grades 6 and 9. PBA will be adding 2 grade levels of 100 students per grade each year until 2012 when the school will have 700 students in grades 6-12. In 2014, the school will begin enrolling at the kindergarten level, adding 100 students per year until 2019, reaching a capacity of 1300 students, K-12.
Charter schools are public schools with no cost to families to attend. The school is open to children of any and all interested families in Delano and surrounding communities without prerequisites and with a goal of maintaining the same demographic diversity as the surrounding school districts. If more applications are received than spots available, a lottery will determine the attendees.