(NOTE: On Monday, Fox News followed up Ben Carson’s visit to Mobile last week with a segment featuring Mobile County’s Prichard Prep School, bringing more, and well-merited, attention to this jewel in the heart of the town of Prichard. The same day, the site Opportunity Lives ran my feature on what makes Prichard Prep work. See the first sentences below, and then read the whole thing, here. — Quin)
When you’re a journalist who sits on the board of an impressive inner-city school, you know it’s a conflict of interest to write about the school professionally.
But when a presidential candidate visits the school to cite it as a national exemplar for great education, well, darn it, that’s real news — and you, the board member/journalist, are perfectly positioned to tell the story.
So let me admit my bias right up front in writing that Dr. Ben Carson is right: Prichard Prep School near Mobile, Alabama, now consisting of 154 students from pre-K through fifth grade, is a remarkable success story from which conservatives, and indeed school reformers of all ideological persuasions, can and should take lessons…. The children come largely from families with high aspirations but very little accumulated wealth: 94 percent of them are eligible for the federal free- or reduced-lunch program, and every one of them is African-American. But now they read at an average of a year-and-a-quarter above their grade levels, and their average SAT10 Reading and Mathematics assessments place them above 73 percent of all students nationwide. (In 2009, the school’s students had been way down in the 30th percentile.) Amazingly, even though the school runs only through fifth grade, 12 students last April placed post-high-school scoresin more than three subjects….
(Again, here’s the whole thing.)