Higher-ed diversity done right

Universities have long complained that far too many of their incoming students are ill-prepared for the rigors of college; the problem is particularly acute for low-income and minority students. Several institutions are actually doing something about it. The University of California (Davis, Berkeley, San Diego), Stanford, the University of Chicago, the University of the Pacific--all have set up charter high schools in recent years to help students get the skills and knowledge necessary for higher-education success. Gadfly says bravo. The more connections between k-12 schools and universities, the better. Such partnerships often result in more rigorous high-school curricula while helping university-based educationists to see for themselves what works in the classroom and what doesn't. (Dare one hope that such knowledge will catalyze change in the ed schools?) So far, the results are promising. When East Palo Alto Academy, a charter high school set up in part by Stanford faculty, was opened in 2001, its ninth-graders couldn't write more than several sentences or do basic multiplication and division. Now, test scores are rising, and many students are responding favorably to the beefed-up curriculum. "We're showing those gains," said Linda Darling-Hammond, a Stanford professor who helped establish the school. "But it's been a process." Indeed--a process one hopes will continue.

"Colleges set up charters as pipeline for students," by Laurel Rosenhall, Sacramento Bee, December 8, 2007