Wednesday, June 11, 2008

WSJ on Thurgood Marshall Academy

The Wall Street Journal takes a look at the success Thurgood Marshall Academy has had educating students from Ward 8 over the last seven years.
As a middle-school student in Ward 8, one of the tougher areas of the nation's capital, Elisabeth Robinson did badly at school on purpose to keep out of fights. "Anything you do could get you jumped -- could get you shot up," she said. Her solution was "to dumb down who I was."

Now, the high-school junior is facing a different kind of peer pressure at Thurgood Marshall Academy . In a neighborhood that produces about 30% of the city's homicide victims, with the city's lowest high-school graduation rate, every member of the school's first four classes has gone on to college. No one wants to be the first to fail.

"College is an expectation here, not a choice," Ms. Robinson says.

The seven-year-old charter school, named for the first African-American Supreme Court justice, is one of several programs east of the Anacostia River that are designed to break the pattern of violence in this impoverished section of the city. TMA -- as it is known -- has innovative programs, such as the self-assessments that students must do, as well as software that gives teachers a near-instantaneous look at students' learning. But the school's success isn't built on cutting-edge pedagogy but on an old-fashioned concept: high expectations. [Emphasis added]
Unfortunately the full article is for subscribers only.

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