School District Decisions & College Promise Program Enrollment

Cooke Scholars share research and exchange ideas at last year's Scholars Weekend event.

July 26, 2019 – Here’s what we’re reading this week about the issues affecting high-achieving students. National K-12 headlines originate at the district level on issues including school meals, AP exams, and segregation. College promise programs and community colleges are popular higher ed topics.

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Elementary & Secondary Education:

  • A Washington state school district sets out to narrow excellence gaps by covering the full cost of Advancement Placement (AP) exams for all students. “We have a large population (of students) who can’t afford to pay for all of their AP classes, so this is to try and level the playing field,” an assistant superintendent tells The Seattle Times.
  • NPR summarizes a new report on segregated school districts, which found that “disadvantaged districts in these cross-district comparisons receive, on average, about $4,200 less per student than their wealthier neighbors.” The same EdBuild report, which commemorates 45 years since the Milliken v. Bradley decision, is detailed in a Vox explainer.
  • Proposed eligibility caps for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) would end assistance for 9 percent of all households currently enrolled, which advocates quoted in Bloomberg warn could additionally limit students’ access to school meals. Related coverage on the social safety net from The Wall Street Journal outlines the return on investment for children’s health and education spending.


Higher Education:

  • How do tuition-free college promise programs affect enrollment at four-year institutions? Articles from Education Dive and Bloomberg share insights. Understanding these trends is important to other localities and states considering such programs, which The Daily Press notes now includes Virginia.
  • Michelle Singletary’s commentary in The Washington Post has a powerful headline: “Don’t be embarrassed about going to community college. Put it on your résumé.”
  • The Today’s Students Coalition brings together 10 student advocacy groups to focus higher education policy on responsive solutions for students with financial need and other underrepresented learners.


Cooke Foundation Highlights:

  • Princeton Alumni Weekly publishes profiles of transfer students on campus, including Cooke Scholars Daniela Alvarez and Vinny Wagner. “Every time I finish an assignment, I’m struck with this inexplicable desire to move on to the next one to see what challenge it’ll bring,” says Vinny.
  • Since 2005, seven Tulsa Community College students have been selected as Cooke Transfer Scholars. TulsaPeople Magazine shares their names among other milestones from the institution’s 50-year history.
  • “Although 80 percent of community college students say they want to earn a bachelor’s degree, only 14 percent do it. And a 2019 report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation showed that numbers of community college students who get into the nation’s top institutions is even smaller,” states Patch. The article includes information about an upcoming transfer workshop for Prairie State College students led by Cooke Transfer Scholar Semifinalist Cahron Cross.


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Photo header: Cooke Scholars share research and exchange ideas at last year’s Scholars Weekend event.