Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Bargains and Outliers
The “Marita’s Bargain” chapter focuses on one of those college-prep schools, the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) in a struggling community in New York City. Gladwell gives special attention to one of the students, Marita, and the considerable effort and sacrifices she must make in order to do well at the school. She must rise early and study late into the night
Gladwell argues that KIPP “has succeeded by taking the idea of cultural legacies seriously.” That means that a tradition like summer vacation is replaced with year-round schooling, and the times that the school day begins and ends changes as well as how students are instructed to pay attention in class. And, a student like Marita is given more of a “chance” when someone brings “a little bit of the rice paddy to the South Bronx” and explains “the miracle of meaningful work.”
KIPP Academies seem to have tremendous success assisting young people from poor, neglected environments make it to college. But, what might a KIPP Academy at the collegiate level look like? Perhaps that’s what our activities with the Haley Scholars Academy are all about. So what KIPP-like strategies do you think would be most important for a large group of us to adopt in order to ensure that larger numbers of students of color at the university attain academic and professional success?
Or, what kinds of “bargains” should the university or specific programs like the Haley Scholars Academy create to make opportunities for collegiate success available to more and more students here?