Over the month of January, students participating in the High School HeroesX Philadelphia challenge have furthered their research on the roots of education inequality and possible solutions that can be implemented to help solve the problem.
Students watched Vice News’ documentary “Last Chance High”, which chronicles one of the worst public high schools in Chicago and shows in earnest how the children who end up in these underfunded school districts with seeminly no escape are much more a product of their surroundings than a reflection on their body of work throughout life.
Our next focus was on reading about organizations which have strived to fix this problem and our first focus was on Teach for America. By reading exerpts from founder Wendy Kopp’s book A Chance to Make History: What Works and What Doesn’t in Providing an Excellent Education for All , our high school heroes began to grasp both the enormity of the problem and how it is not impossible to fix.
In the final week of the month, our heroes at participating schools read about people who have sucessflly helped students in less fortunate school districts in the Philadelphia community. Our students first read an excerpt from Wharton Professor Adam Grant’s book Give and Take. In this excerpt, we read about Conrey Calahan, a Teach for America teacher who, by giving greatly of herself to students at Overbrook high school, was able to acheive great results at a school which has a 54% graduation rate. We also read about the inspiring work being done at SpringBoard Collaborative, founded by Alejandro Gac-Artigas. The organization realized that a large part of the educational gap occurs during the summer and devised a curriculum to retrain teachers, parents, and students and has seen great results in places such as Philadelphia.
In the coming month, we hope to start churning our some great ideas to be put into place and have a great impact on our community! Please follow us on our journey on our challenge website, and we look forward to sharing with the world what we are able to do!
Categories: Philadelphia Education Challenge