It’s a good idea. It’s an innovative idea, and Joe Mastracola, Peabody’s Superintendent of Schools, should get props for coming up with something that could add a nice chunk of incremental revenue, while giving our school system some positive diversity.
Mastrocola wants to attract foreign students to attend Peabody High School with the assistance of an agency called Educatius International. The big benefit to taxpayers would be that each of these students would pay Peabody $12,000 per year to attend.
In the small school district of Groton-Dunstable, where Matsrocola previously served as super, the policy reaped up to $175,000, according to the Salem News. The program this year alone has meant almost $300k of found money for Arlington High.
All of the students, who would be here on F1 visas provided through Homeland Security, would be put up with host families, who would be compensated by the students’ families. The students undergo strict background checks.
Not only would this give the Peabody schools some much-needed extra revenue, but these international students typically come from strong academic backgrounds, and having more kids with scholarly track records is never a bad thing for Peabody High.
The question might be, how can Peabody be competitive when it comes to attracting these students? For example, both Arlington and Groton-Dunstable have better academic credentials right now than Peabody, and we’ll also be competing against Catholic high schools. Speaking from personal experience of having seen this program work well at Wakefield’s all-girl NazarethAcademy, many of the students come from upper class conservative families, and have parents who seek schools that offer religion and the type of disciplined atmosphere you typically find at a small or private high school.
But it’s a great idea for Peabody to apply, and I don’t see any negatives. It’s definitely innovative thinking by our new superintendent.