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U.S. SENATE WANT TO PROMOTE COLLEGE SUCESS IN LOW-INCOME AREAS

U.S. SENATE WANT TO PROMOTE COLLEGE SUCESS IN LOW-INCOME AREAS

Education leaders in the U.S. Senate want to promote college success in low-income communities through a new “cradle-to-career” educational support program in the nation’s highest poverty neighborhoods.

Proposed by U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, chairman of the Senate’s education committee, and five other Democrats, the Promise Neighborhoods Act would create a new national initiative based on a model developed by the Harlem Children’s Zone to serve at-risk students in New York City.

That program, which began on one city block, has spread to cover more than 10,000 Harlem children. Integrated within the Children’s Zone are early childhood education programs, charter schools and support to prepare children for college.

“Promise Neighborhoods is a new kind of federal grant,” says Harkin, noting that the grant requires agencies and organizations to revitalize a single neighborhood at a time. He says his bill would spread the concept nationally through competitive grants for neighborhood-based “continuums of care” for children in low-income communities.

The bill takes “a holistic approach to improving not only children’s academic success but also their lives,” says Harkin. “It also supports communities in working together to combat the devastating effects poverty has on children’s development and academic achievement.”

Schools and community-based organizations would form partnerships with other organizations, including colleges, to provide services such as prenatal education and college and career readiness activities. The act also would provide financial support for a number of other programs, including:

• High-quality early education initiatives

• High-quality before- and after-school activities

• Programs focused on easing the transition to elementary school, between elementary school and middle school and from middle school to high school

• Career readiness activities, such as subsidized employment opportunities

• Programs supporting college-age students.

“Our experience in Harlem shows that working hard over the long term, holding ourselves accountable and eliminating all the barriers to academic success is our best shot at saving poor children,” says Children’s Zone president Geoffrey Canada. (more)

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Article by CHARLES DERVARICS, Diverse Magazine | Read full article here