Building a Culture Aimed at College
Urban high schools take on a complex mission.
Mavis Jackson is trolling the polished hallway floors in her sensible shoes. As the college counselor at a small, high-poverty high school, she has much to do if she is going to get all these students into college. So she milks every moment.
“Are you registered for the SAT?” Jackson calls out to one young man between class periods, pointing at him for emphasis. “You need to sign up for the college tours,” she tells a young woman in a classroom down the hall.
As the national drumbeat for college readiness grows louder, policymakers and scholars trumpet the potent role that a school’s “college-going culture” can play in leading more students to choose postsecondary education. But it’s places like this hard-luck corner of urban America that have miles to go if all students are to have a shot at further...
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