Helping low-income students succeed in college [Letter]

June 04, 2014

Karl Alexander and Doris Entwisle tracked nearly 800 children who began first grade in a Baltimore City public school in 1982 and found that only 4 percent of those who came from low-income families eventually earned a college degree ("Baltimore study indicates family influences academic, work place success," June 2).

It was noted in the article that there are programs in other parts of the country that successfully help children from low-income families achieve academic success. Fortunately, today there are programs right here in Baltimore that are doing exactly the same thing.

The Middle Grades Partnership, an initiative of the Baltimore Community Foundation, has provided enriched summer and school-year learning opportunities for more than 1,200 academically promising Baltimore City middle school students since 2005.

Nearly 100 percent of MGP students during the last two years were accepted into their first-choice Baltimore City high schools.

The Building STEPS (Science, Technology and Education Partnerships) program offers out-of-classroom experiences to expose bright, underserved Baltimore City high school students to science and technology-based careers. Since 1995, 84 percent of Building STEPS students, the vast majority of whom are from low-income families, have earned a college degree, and 46 percent have gone on to earn post-baccalaureate degrees.

Moreover, as The Sun recently reported, the Ingenuity Project has made an accelerated and challenging science and mathematics curriculum available to Baltimore City middle and high school students since 1993.

I encourage Baltimoreans to look up these programs on the web and to join me in giving them the support they need to continue to flourish.

David A. Vanko

The writer is dean of the Jess and Mildred Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University.

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