Monday, May 7, 2007

The Dreamer's Freshest Dream

I have been reading a lot about the rising difficulties for today's youth to (1) get into the increasingly demanding college entrance (BYU's ACT acceptance cutoff has risen 4 points in 5 years), and (2) the increase difficulties today's generation of college students have paying for higher education (A full Pell Grant in the 1970's would pay for 75% of Harvard vs. 25% of a state school today).

Are the doors of oppurtunity still available to all? The America Dream has long been questioned and seems increasingly jeopordized. Seemingly, in today's world, the American Dream seems more sustained by reality television giving the occasional average joe a crack at a million dollars, a dreamy bachelor/bachelorette, or a chance a pop stardom, than it does by American industry, education, or policy.

Here is some proof that the American Dream is still hanging in there. Today, it seems, the American Dream just takes a little extra dreaming.

Newseek Reports a decade ago, Jesuit Father John Foley decided to tackle problem of the low graduation rates for inner city minorities, and even lower accpetance rates into college.

Check Out the article, but the long and short of it that the church did not have the funds to support the school, and the low income families couldn't afford the tuition.

Dreams take money. Money or big dreams and fresh ideas.

Foley, threatened to see his dream fall apart before ever getting a sinlge student enrolled turned to management consultant, Richard Murray, for help. Murray came up with the idea to have the students pay for their own tution by holding entry level jobs with local Chicago firms. If they could work 1 day a week and work the cirriculum into the other 4 days it could work.

Now a decade later, he has over a 100 Chicago firms involved and nearly a 100% acceptance rate into college. What a model.

Two great things from this: (1) look at what results came from rethinking the education model, and (2) the privatization of education.

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