NEW YORK — November 14, 2012 — Say Yes to Education is proud to announce the release of a new paper by acclaimed journalist Gene I. Maeroff, providing an inside look at one of the most ambitious and comprehensive school reform initiatives in the nation.
“Rebuilding Communities: Education’s Central Role in Mobilizing Community Reform” chronicles the challenges and victories the Syracuse community has overcome and achieved as it worked with Say Yes, a national, nonprofit foundation that uses education to revitalize once great urban communities.
Say Yes coordinates the efforts of a broad range of government agencies and community organizations to provide comprehensive services and revamps academic programs to better serve students, families, and taxpayers, with the goal of raising high school and college graduation rates and property values.
Offering the promise of scholarships for all students, Say Yes provides financial assistance for college, as well as the academic, health, social, family, and legal supports students need to graduate from high school and succeed in further learning.
Maeroff’s paper was released today during a Capitol Hill event, Urban School Improvement and Regional Renewal in a Time of Scarcity. Featuring a keynote address by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), the forum shared lessons from Say Yes’ experience on scaling up approaches to student success, school improvement, and regional renewal.
“The idea is not simply to make postsecondary education affordable, but to give students the grounding and aspiration to keep them there, once admitted, and to lead to completion of degrees,” Maeroff writes.
By facilitating citywide collaboration and resource reallocation, Say Yes is helping to provide the hope and supports needed to enable 60,000 young people find a pipeline to college and careers rather than to poverty.
“It’s time for government and organizations to think differently about schooling, communities, and young people. Yes, schools need a no-excuse approach—longer days and years and more academic enrichment, but they also need to support teachers,” said Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, president of Say Yes to Education. “And they need connect to communities and families where students spend their time, where expectations are shaped, and where learning can extend.”
“Say Yes gives us a leadership model. For the first time, there is a program in the schools into which everything can flow,” said Doug Biklen, Dean of the School of Education at Syracuse University.
Maeroff, a former New York Times writer and the founding director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Columbia University’s Teachers College, conducted extensive on-the-ground interviews with the key players who have helped create and sustain the dynamic partnership, to explore the extensive changes in governance, fiscal accountability, and academic programming.
The city-wide turnaround approach launched in Syracuse was built on 20 years of on-the-ground work by Say Yes with cohorts of students in other cities, including Hartford, Cambridge, and Harlem, dramatically increasing the number of inner-city students completing high school and earning post-secondary degrees.
Since the work began in Syracuse, nearly 2,000 students have been awarded millions in scholarships to pursue their goals at the more than 100 colleges and universities that partner with Say Yes.
To download a copy of Maeroff’s paper or learn more about Say Yes to Education, go to www.sayyestoeducation.org.
About Say Yes to Education:
Say Yes to Education, Inc. (Say Yes) is a national, non-profit education foundation committed to dramatically increasing high school and college graduation rates for our nation's urban youth. Say Yes provides comprehensive supports, including the promise of free college tuition, aligned with what research indicates is needed to enable every child in the program to achieve his or her potential. Learn more at www.sayyestoeducation.org