Saturday, April 19, 2014

Wealth may transform a community for the better

The appropriate socioeconomic strategy for Kalamazoo, MI was education. 

... and, so, that how I won the Easter Bunny award
NPR/staff, 4/16/14.  "How one Michigan city is sending kids to college tuition-free."

"Paying for college presents a tremendous hurdle to many families, from wading through paperwork and to understanding of college debt.  But what if the city you lived in footed the bill for college? That's what Kalamazoo, Mich., for almost a decade. In 2005, a group of anonymous donors launched an ambitious program. They pledged enough money to pay the tuition of most students who graduate from the district's public high schools to attend any of Michigan's public universities or community colleges.

The effort, called the Kalamazoo Promise, has spent about $50 million assisting more than 3,000 students from the city." Read article, includes an 8:31 minute audio. 

 Related articles - Aljazeera America/Ismat Sarah Mangla, 11/15/14. "The city where students go to college for free." "....  Known as the Kalamazoo Promise, this one-of-a-kind program covers 100 percent of in-state tuition for students who attend Kalamazoo Public Schools from kindergarten to 12th grade; 65 percent for students who attend grades 9 to 12. The only requirements of the scholarship are that students live within the boundaries of the Kalamazoo School District and that they attend KPS continuously. Students can use the funds for up to 10 years after graduation from high school." .... While the identity of the local donors who made the Promise possible is a fiercely guarded secret, their intent behind the Promise is not, says Miller-Adams. “It’s very clear to me that the donors structured this program to create a major, transformative investment in the community,” she says. “The donors are very serious about the residency requirement. That suggests that it’s about tying families to the community, to strengthen the urban core, to create a place that attracts and retains businesses and educated individuals.”   

New York Times Magazine/The Education Issue/Ted C. Fishman, 9/16/12. "Why these kids get a free ride to college."  ....  "All of a sudden, students who had little hope of higher education saw college in their future. Called the Kalamazoo Promise, the program — blind to family income levels, to pupils’ grades and even to disciplinary and criminal records — would be the most inclusive, most generous scholarship program in America. It would also mark the start of an important social experiment. From the very beginning, Brown, the only person in town who communicates directly with the Promise donors, has suggested that the program is supposed to do more than just pay college bills. It’s primarily meant to boost Kalamazoo’s economy.  ....  According to census data, 39 percent of Kalamazoo’s students are white, and 44 percent are African-American. One of every three students in the Kalamazoo district falls below the national poverty level. One in 12 is homeless. Many of them are the first in their families to finish high school; many come from single-parent homes. Some are young parents themselves: Kalamazoo has one of the highest pregnancy rates among black teenagers in the state."

Reference, scholarship - The Kalamazoo Promise10 things you need to know.

Reference, Kalamazoo, MI - City of Kalamazoo, MICity Data, Wikipedia, (population 74,262, 2010 census).

Note photograph:  Rabbit from Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

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