I listened to a fascinating report on Morning Edition this morning about Detroit’s Christo Rey Catholic high school system. It seems to have found a creative and effective recipe for getting at-risk minority kids motivated, educated, and into college.
The schools work in cooperation with local professional places of business — hospitals and law firms, not McDonalds and gas stations — to place the kids in internship-type positions one day a week. This gives them first hand experience of professional work environments and also some important contacts for things like letters of recommendation and college/career advice. Sounds like they’re having some good success with it, and the number of kids trying to get into the schools is now far outstripping the programs’ capacities.
I ended up sitting in my car before coming in to my office so I could hear the report all the way through. It’s here and worth the 5 minutes it’ll take to listen. The Detroit Christo Rey system website is here.