"A little more than half of the class known as the “Belmont 112” graduated high school. 20 went on to get 4-year degrees, but just as many turned out to be felons."
Isn't that worse than the results we're already getting here in Guilford County? As a matter of fact, Guilford County Graduation rates were already 86.2 percent in 2013. (Link, Guilford County Schools)
And as you can see by clicking on Guilford County, North Carolina Education Data, we already have higher graduation rates, higher college education rates, lower drop out rates than every surrounding county, the state as a whole, and the nation.
Even Say Yes founder George Weiss is quoted as saying,
“I expected them all to get straight A’s. I expected them all to go to Penn. And I realized that wasn’t reality,” he said."
It appears the original 112 student Say Yes To Education program at West Philadelphia’s Belmont Elementary School was hardly, if any better, than what Guilford County already had.
So maybe the problem is something else. Something Say Yes isn't now and never has addressed. Something that's bigger than the cheerleaders who pushed for Say Yes will ever be able to comprehend.
Free college tuition? Yes, it's a great idea. Varying versions of it have been working out in Georgia, Tennessee, and Oregon where they've been doing it statewide for years now and reaping economic benefits for everyone-- not just college grads. As a matter of fact, it's working so good that New York Governor Perry Cuomo plans to bring back free college tuition state wide, effectively putting Say Yes Syracuse and Say Yes Buffalo out of business.
Perhaps North Carolina should do the same.