Saturday, March 06, 2010

School Achievement Success

Upon reading this success story in the Chicago Tribune today, I couldn't help but post some excerpts to draw attention to this astounding bit of happy news

Four years ago, the Urban Prep Academy began as an all black boys school in the neighborhood of Englewood here in Chicago.  For those of us who know Chicago, we know this is a relatively tough area.  As the first class graduates from the charter school, though, I think we can safely call the experiment a success.

Urban Prep, a charter school that enrolls using a lottery in one of the city's more troubled neighborhoods, faced difficult odds. Only 4 percent of this year's senior class read at grade level as freshmen.

Now, however, a much different picture of this school's students can be painted.

The entire senior class at Chicago's only public all-male, all-African-American high school has been accepted to four-year colleges. At last count, the 107 seniors had earned spots at 72 schools across the nation.

This in a city where overall the high school graduation rate alone amongst black males is only 38%.  It is an inspiring example of the difference that can be made via an educational investment.


Chairman said...

Westy - Interesting post.

How did the lottery work? Was anyone eligible, or did they have to qualify? One of the major issues with using race as a factor in assigning merit-based rewards is that you often end up helping those who may have succeeded on their own. For example, if you reserve some spots in your incoming class or if you reserve some scholarships for black people, the tendency is that you end up giving the aid to the children of middle to upper-class blacks (think about the sons and daughters of black lawyers and doctors getting those awards). The question of whether that is helpful is a very valid one.

Regardless, I'm very curious to see part 2, how these 107 seniors are doing 5 years from now. And of course, part 3, how these 107 seniors are doing 25 years from now. The real difference, from an outcome perspective hasn't been made, yet, and we don't really know how the story ends out.

Westy said...

Well, based on their entry test scores in 9th grade, I would suspect that this was not necessarily a group that was expected to achieve anyway.