Although goals concerning social mobility are key to the education of low-income and minority students, a range of other goals inspire the structure and philosophy of New York City critical small schools. It is not an easy task to function within the state and city’s traditional educational system while trying to produce an alternative to it. Dan Patton, a humanities teacher at Central Park East Secondary School (CPESS), explained that students often returned to the school complaining that they had trouble “doing” lecture courses. Some teachers thought CPESS should consider changing the curriculum to help ease that transition. Patton responded that “it’s hard enough to get kids to use their mind. I don’t think we should have colleges dictate to us what we consider to be the needs of our kids.” For Patton, much of college education was more conservative and teacher centered, and CPESS had always attempted to move away from that structure.1