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The Event: Public School Kids Get A College “Promise”

Let me quote the Independent here:

The city has an offer for freshmen in its public high schools: Keep up good grades and stay in school, and you’ll get a full ride to a state college or university.

That’s part of a new “Promise” the city unveiled Tuesday as part of its ambitious school reform drive.

It will pay up to 25 percent of the tuition for qualifying seniors who go on to public colleges or universities in Connecticut next year; up to 50 percent for the class after that, up to 75 percent for the following class; and up to 100 percent for the Class of 2014. Then funders will decide whether to continue the program.

Yale University has pledged up to $4 million per year to fund the new college tuition program, called New Haven Promise, according to Mayor John DeStefano, Jr. The program will be available to New Haven residents who attend public schools, with some conditions. Yale has committed to fund the program for an initial eight years as it is phased in for the four classes of current high school students; the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven will pay for the employees to administer the fund.

This is, needles to say, huge. The NYT has it on its front page. It is a great opportunity for the city, and it is something that we all should think long and hard on how we can get the most out of it for our community. 

What should be the plan? Should we focus on improve school achievement, based on this boost? Should we work hard to attract new talent to New Haven (all of a sudden, our school district is vastly more attractive for middle class families)? A combination of both?

Ideas? I am really partial to the attract middle class families side. I know some people hate gentrification, but it does rebuild neighborhoods - and in our case, without displacing residents, as we have so many empty lots in many place.  

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Great news! Will there be a group formed to oversee/participate in this opportunity? As someone who is in the New Haven public schools with our Junior Achievement programs, I have a great interest in keeping our future leaders in the schools as well as excited about what education should mean to them. I believe that one of the reasons for our achievement gap here in CT is that many of these students don't live in an environment that promotes education. If these families have this opportunity offered to them, it is a step in the right direction. Also, is this in any way connected to America's Promise? Would like to learn more about this and be involved if possible.
As a mother of three, I think this is a great opportunity for all students in New Haven and a great start. I do hope that as this program rolls out, there are clear cut goals on specific numbers to be reached – a real and honest look at the achievement gaps, where resources are distributed, etc. I also hope that we make a concerted effort to ACTIVELY bring into the fold those children with special needs and support them with the services and support mechanisms they need WITHOUT DELAY so they can also benefit from this wonderful new program.
I heard from someone the other day that this is only for students who have attended New Haven Public Schools throughout their entire childhood. Is this true? If so, this will not attract other families to move to New Haven unless their children have not already started school.

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