Ballou Senior High School is only about six miles from the ACS headquarters building in Washington, D.C., but the school feels like it's a world away. Located in one of the highest crime areas in the District, students at Ballou must go through metal detectors every morning to enter the school.
Yesterday, ACS staff traveled by charter bus to Ballou to do hands-on activities with the students there as part of National Chemistry Week. The stations included activities such as making slime using Borax and Elmer’s glue.
I’ll admit, I wondered whether these activities were too elementary for high school students. John Solano, a chemistry and biotechnology teacher and science department chair at Ballou, told me that for many of these students, this was the only exposure to hands-on chemistry they’ve had because the school lacks the funding to purchase lab equipment and other supplies.
I couldn’t help but think of the high school students on the other, more affluent side of town, who are doing advanced chemistry experiments in labs that rival those at colleges and universities.
It just doesn’t seem fair.