Grand Rapids schools struggle to create college culture that Promise brought to Kalamazoo
Grand Rapids schools have struggled to create college culture that Promise brought to Kalamazoo. An article in the Grand Rapids Press compares the struggles of Grand Rapids Public Schools with the success that the Kalamazoo Promise has garnered for Kalamazoo Public Schools. From the article:
Superintendent Bernard Taylor saw a presidential visit as a means of elevating the importance of graduation in a district where only 51 percent of students graduate on time, and a college readiness study determined that fewer than a quarter of graduates are prepared for college level work in any core subject. Meanwhile, enrollment continues a long decline and student poverty rates are risinge. (Taylor declined to comment for the story.)Read the full article: http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2010/06/grand_rapids_schools_struggle.html
Grand Rapids Public Schools also is trying to rally community support for reforms at its comprehensive high schools, where student achievement is improving by some measures.
A Kalamazoo-style Promise was explored by The Grand Rapids Community Foundation, education program officer Cris Kooyer said. A private study calculated how big an endowment it would take to guarantee new graduates up to 100 percent of college tuition but concluded the district is too big.
"We don't have a Promise, but if we're strategic, intentional and collaborative, we think Grand Rapids can help students achieve more," Kooyer said.
The district benefits in many other ways from a generous philanthropic community, Kooyer said.
Examples include the Meijer Foundation funding classroom grants and United Way's Schools of Hope program providing tutors. The DeVos Family Foundation funds the district's participation in University of Pittsburgh's academic excellence initiative called Institute for Learning, Steelcase backs a college-bound program called U-Prep Academy, and Spectrum Health, Rockford Construction and Amway are active in career-based programs housed within comprehensive high schools called Centers of Innovation.