Education Unlocks the Door to Freedom

Countless studies demonstrate a link between a lack of education and increased crime, poverty, drug use and unemployment. Community revitalization requires an effective cradle-to-college pipeline. A pipeline is not merely about co-locating and collaborating. It is about requiring a higher level of coordination, with each partner measuring success in reference to how the others are doing.

That pipeline begins with strong early childhood education that prepares young children for success throughout their academic years. It continues with the highest-quality elementary, middle and high school education, all focused on preparing students for success in college and beyond.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

– Nelson Mandela

Key components for a successful education pipeline:

  • A neighborhood focus with local control
  • Principals empowered to make performance-driven hiring decisions
  • High quality teachers committed to the school’s success
  • Extended school days and school year
  • Rigorous and relevant educational curriculum
  • Relentless focus on outcomes to ensure continued excellence

A Foundation for Success

An example is the Charles R. Drew Charter School, a critical component of the East Lake revitalization effort that now serves as the model for Purpose Built Communities. Before Drew Charter, only 5 percent of 5th graders in the neighborhood school were able to meet state math standards. Today, students at Drew are outpacing their peers across the state, and Drew’s academic achievements are among the best in the city. In mathematics, 98 percent of students in grades 3 – 8 meet or exceed state standards, while 99 percent meet or exceed the standards for reading.

Martin Luther King, Jr., who grew up not far from East Lake, said, “the function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” A strong, effective cradle-to-college pipeline provides students with the tools to build brighter futures for themselves and their families.

Replicating the Model

See how some of our Network Members are moving forward with their cradle-to-college education pipelines: