Friday, November 11, 2005

The Kalamazoo Promise. Big money does something big.

The town that our company calls home did something big yesterday.

The Kalamazoo School Board revealed that a group of anonymous donors had stepped forward to offer the payment of college tuition at a Michigan university to the city's high school graduates. That's every graduate – not just one class.

There are sliding scales and so forth, but if your child went to Kalamazoo schools from kindergarten to 12th grade, they'll pick up 100% of the tab at a college in this state. The least they'll pay is 65%. You can get the details from The Kalamazoo Gazette.

I love it when I see big money do something dramatic. And so far, officials are completely tight-lipped about who is behind this thing. Fascinating.

At least our corner of Michigan is proving to be a lot more progressive than most people would ever guess.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Gerah said...

We were visiting some friends in Kzoo Saturday night and talking about this. It's amazing. I've wanted to move back to Kalamazoo for a couple years now, and this just makes me get even more serious about it. Not just for the free tuition - it's more than that. To me, a city that is this progressive and forward thinking, and that draws other people in that think the same way...

...That's a place I want to raise my children and call my home.

5:28 AM  
Anonymous Danny G said...

Hey Dean,

I was wondering: Does Kalamazoo suffer from the same type of problem many other cities have--that is, the better school districts lie in the suburbs, outside the city limits? Because this sounds like a very intriguing solution. I've lived in many cities where the inner city school districts have been left to rot away, and this may be one good way to keep students & their families living in center city areas and stay involved in urban school districts.

11:56 AM  
Blogger Black Lab Five said...

Kalamazoo has always had the challenge of people living in the suburban areas instead of the city – I live outside the city myself. To be honest, I think this initiative will cause a cultural shift that will evolve over ten years. I don't think it will cause big influx back into the city, but it will keep current residents with families in town. And with the opportunity for college more realistic for students and their parents, the culture in the schools should improve. And, as Gerah noted, it marks Kalamazoo as a progressive community. When you're a Michigan city these days, it's easy to get overwhelmed by stats on layoffs and obesity. This shifts the conversation someplace better.

It's a great solution. Every town should have its own generous billionaires.

9:43 AM  

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