With the help of a $4 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, seven cities recently launched collaborative efforts to boost college graduation rates by better coordinating services between schools, colleges and community organizations.
This is exactly the kind of collaboration education experts say is necessary for the city to move the goal line from college access to college completion.
The good news is, Philly appears to be ahead of the game.
Even before Nutter took office, there was an army of organizations and programs already working to improve educational attainment in this city—the Philadelphia Youth Network, Philadelphia Education Fund, Philadelphia Futures, and the Philadelphia College Prep Roundtable, to name a few.
Really, the biggest success of the Mayor’s Office of Education in the last two years has simply been aligning forces with these groups.
As for fixing the specific leaks in the education pipeline, as Naughton says, “the higher education system must continue to partner with high schools to align standards and ensure that a high school diploma means readiness for college.”
Until then, there’s not much more the city can do.
Though most young people intuitively understand that they need help with the transition into adulthood, the answers that weren’t clear at all had to do with whether Philly’s urban youth were actually getting that help—and where they should look for it if they weren’t.