IMPACT
03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

San Francisco School Offers Unorthodox Education To Second Chance Students

There are 105 San Francisco students receiving an unconventional education at John Muir Charter School on Treasure Island. Their school administrators are former bank robbers and meth addicts. They get paid to go to class and receive construction job training as part of their core education. But as the San Francisco Chronicle reports, the school's oddball curriculum and values are working for students who might otherwise never receive a second chance.

"We're taking the kids our school system can't handle," said Garry Grady, the former bank robber, as he sat in his musty administrator's office watching students head back to class to solve algebraic equations, complete a plant biology worksheet and finish a lesson on Adolf Hitler...He summed up his students in five words: "These are the crack babies."...The students, who range in age from 16 to 24, get paid $50 per week for attending class; they get $7 per hour during the weeks they're learning to hammer nails, frame a room, or paint a wall, for example.

The students are robbers, thieves, teenage parents and convicts. But, the article says, they wake up before the sun rises to get to school on time and bury their gang grudges during class in an effort to get a decent education. Upon graduation, students find more opportunities than life as drop outs could ever afford them.

Read more or see a slideshow on San Francisco's John Muir Charter School on the San Francisco Chronicle.

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