Image

6:16 PM / Saturday February 24, 2024

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

Philly NAACP

Philadelphia NAACP News

February 18, 2024

Tweet Email Tweet Email Related Posts Philadelphia NAACP news as of Feb. 2 Philadelphia NAACP Branch News...

Color Of Money

How to give your business an inviting local flair using design

February 17, 2024

Tweet Email BPT Think of local businesses that feel connected to your community. What comes to mind?...

Health

Four tips to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle

February 17, 2024

Tweet Email BPTIn honor of American Heart Month this February, you can make positive changes to your...

Sports

Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl 2024 

February 12, 2024

Tweet Email The Kansas City Chiefs narrowly beat the San Francisco 49ers, becoming the 2024 Super Bowl champions. The...

Fur Babies Rule!

Bow to Wow! America’s top 10 shelter dog makeovers

February 3, 2024

Tweet Email BPTZen was rescued from a horrendous hoarding case. She arrived at the shelter with mange...

Seniors

‘Soaring’ over hills or ‘playing’ with puppies, study finds seniors enjoy virtual reality

February 23, 2024

Tweet Email By Terry Spencerassociated press POMPANO BEACH, Fla. — Retired Army Col. Farrell Patrick taught computer...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff