The good news is absent in coverage

/ 24 May 2012 / jennifer

Al Fan, Star Tribune (Letter to the editor), May 24, 2012 –

The May 22 article “Affluent schools stay on top” continues to ignore the hopeful story that a small cadre of schools in the urban core are telling about the potential of great schools to help all students learn and achieve at the highest levels, whatever their skin color, family income or zip code.

Notably, Reward School Hiawatha Academies, which serves almost exclusively children who qualify for the federal free and reduced lunch program, is ranked in this new system as the No. 1 school receiving Title I dollars in the state and the No. 2 school overall.

Harvest Prep and BEST Academy, and several other high-performing charters serving low-income kids, are also Reward schools. These schools — and their leaders and students — simply refuse to believe that poverty is destiny. To the contrary, they are wielding high-quality education as a weapon in their fight for social justice.

For the Star Tribune’s coverage of the state Education Department’s rankings to suggest, in the face of mounting evidence to the contrary, that schools serving children from low-income families cannot succeed despite the challenges of poverty shows, to use a word from the story, a “stubborn” refusal to cover one of the most hopeful stories being told about the future of education in the Twin Cities.


The writer is executive director of Charter School Partners.