Image

1:33 PM / Tuesday November 29, 2022

5 Jul 2011

Building on dreams of college

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
July 5, 2011 Category: Local Posted by:

by Dale Mezzacappa

courtesy The Notebook

 

ABOVE PHOTO: Sayre High School Principal Kahlila Ames talks with college-bound seniors. Sayre’s four-year graduation rate is only 54 percent, but Ames says, “If you show them what they need to do, as opposed to just giving them a grade or credit, they will rise to the occasion.”

Photo: Harvey Finkle

 

In many ways, Philadelphia would seem to be the ideal place for students who want to go to college.

 

The city does not lack for programs and organizations dedicated toward helping young people reach this goal. Its mayor, Michael Nutter, has put renewed focus on the issue, setting goals to halve the high school dropout rate and double the percentage of adults who attain four-year college degrees. The region has one of the highest concentrations of colleges and universities in the nation.

 

 

And yet, statistically, the chances of Philadelphia public school students graduating from college are slim. A recent study showed that of those who entered 9th grade in 1999, only 10 percent had attained a degree 10 years later. Just 39 percent of public school graduates enroll in college the following fall; for those educated in neighborhood high schools, the figure is 29 percent.

 

At Community College of Philadelphia, the main destination for the city’s public school graduates, most start with remedial courses. For students there and at four-year colleges, graduation rates are disappointing – in some cases shockingly low.

 

Why are the numbers so bleak? The Notebook found myriad causes and a few reasons to hope.

 

Despite rising test scores and a slight increase in high school graduation rates, most students leave Philadelphia public schools academically unprepared for higher education, even if they earn a diploma. In spite of promises and effort, creating a system that delivers rigorous, relevant instruction to all its students has eluded a succession of superintendents. On the positive side, more schools focus on college as a goal and on building supportive relationships to help students overcome the hurdles.

 

Nationally, there are some interesting new models. George Weiss, who drew Philadelphia’s attention when he offered free college to 112 Belmont Elementary 6th graders in 1987, has expanded his Say Yes to Education program and now works with the entire city of Syracuse, N.Y.

 

Of Weiss’s Belmont 112, 18 ultimately got four-year college degrees. Some people thought Weiss had wasted his money. But based on what we now know about citywide college completion rates, it turns out to have been an impressive achievement.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Local

Message from Catherine Hicks Philadelphia Branch NAACP President and Publisher of the SUN on passing of former PA Senator T. Milton Street

November 29, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email The Philadelphia Branch NAACP and the Philadelphia SUN family, is saddened to hear...

Stateside

Buffalo gunman pleads guilty in racist supermarket massacre

November 28, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email By CAROLYN THOMPSON BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The white gunman who massacred 10...

Week In Review

Biden admin to ask high court to take up student debt plan

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building on Capitol Hill...

Politics

Georgia runoff: Why one Senate seat is crucial for Democrats

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email ABOVE PHOTO: This combination of photos shows, Sen. Raphael Warnock, D-Ga., speaking to...

Health

How to shop for the right Medicare plan and avoid costly mistakes

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT Inflation is putting the squeeze on all Americans, but no one is...

Color Of Money

Top financial to-dos to end the year strong and prepare for 2023

November 24, 2022

Tweet Share Pin Email BPT  The holidays are a time full of good cheer, but not necessarily...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff