K Promise shows mixed results

KALAMAZOO, Mich. - Now three years old, the Kalamazoo Promise has had mixed results in its mission to send Kalamazoo Public Schools graduates to college, according to The Kalamazoo Gazette. More than 1,100 students have used the scholarship program overall, but about a third of students who qualified this semester are not using the funding, The Gazette reported.

The Gazette said that KPS graduates who qualify for the program are more likely to start college and stay there than the national average for young adults, but that academic preparedness remains an issue. ACT scores show that 70 percent of white students in the KPS class of 2008 were reading at college level, but only 16 percent of black students were, the article said. In math, 48 percent of white students were considered ready for college math, compared to 8 percent of black students.

Overall, however, the average ACT score for white students at KPS exceeds the state average of white students, while black students score at about the state average among black students, The Gazette reported.

The district is introducing new college-readiness programs, including an emphasis on preschool and kindergarten reading and writing, more advanced high school coursework and a program to help struggling middle-schoolers, according to The Gazette.

The Kalamazoo Gazette, "Kalamazoo Public Schools takes aim at students' college readiness," Nov. 15, 2008

Michigan Education Report, "Following the lead of the Kalamazoo Promise," Nov. 14, 2007

Michigan Education Report, "Study: Over $600 million per year for remedial ed," Nov. 1, 2000