One class member is off to Boston University, another to Duke, and a third has been accepted at Princeton. Others are bound for American University, the Art Institute of Philadelphia, Georgetown, and other schools. One hundred percent of the class is going to college next year.
. . . SEED’s Class of 2004, like the rest of the school’s 300 Grade 7-12 students, is fairly typical of the public school population of southeast D.C.
Ninety-eight percent are African-American, 2 percent are Hispanic. Ninety percent come from homes below the poverty line; 88 percent come from single parent or no parent households, and 93 percent are the first generation in their families to go to college.
Students are selected by a lottery; 30 percent have to take an extra “growth year” before they’re ready for high school. By high school, SEED students outscore other D.C. students. They are much less likely to get into fights or try drugs; they are much more likely to graduate.
A teachers’ union policy analyst complains the school, which costs $24,000 per student, takes too much public and philanthropic money. It’s only possible to help a few students because the cost is so high to provide room and board and round the clock supervision. Education Gadfly calls that finding the dark lining in a silver cloud.
I do think the cost matters. SEED may be cost-effective for kids who are doomed to failure if they stay in troubled homes. But not all inner-city students come from dysfunctional families. While $24,000 a year is not much compared to tuition at an elite private school, it’s more than double what D.C. spends on the average student.