Urban Prep achievement needs context

The Tribune reports today that Urban Prep Charter High School is about to send 100% of its graduating class to college.

That’s an achievement worth noting.

However, it’s only part of the story, and if we are serious about reforming our high schools, we need a more complete picture in order to determine if this is a success story worth praising and, where possible, replicating.

Here are some key contextual facts that were not reported about Urban Prep.

  • According to the Illinois Interactive School Report Card, there were 166 freshmen enrolled in 2007, Urban Prep’s first year. Of these original freshmen, the Tribune reports that 107 are graduating seniors. This yields an overall school graduation rate of 64%, or nearly 6 points lower than the average district rate of 69.8%.
  • Just as they struggled as entering freshmen, as reported by the school’s founder, many of these graduates will likely struggle in college given the school’s composite state high school examination results of 15%.

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About the PURE Thoughts blogger
Julie Woestehoff is PURE's executive director. Julie's work has earned her a Ford Foundation award and recognition as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Chicago.