WSW: The Limits of the Kalamazoo Promise

Jul 6, 2015

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Credit WMUK

The Director of Western Michigan University's Lewis Walker Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations says the Kalamazoo Promise is making a difference. But Tim Ready says addressing poverty and inequality means also addressing factors outside of school. 


The Upjohn Institute for Employment Research recently released a study showing that the Promise has helped improve college graduation rates and the chances that a student in the Kalamazoo school district will earn a college degree. Ready says that programs to help families out of poverty are also needed to improve education outcomes for students. 

Ready says there have been some positive steps such as improving access to high-quality pre-school. But he says the child poverty rate has gone up in Kalamazoo. Ready says that has skewed the numbers of the Kalamazoo Promise. He says there is a different socioeconomic population in the Kalamazoo district which he says is now benefiting from the Promise. Ready wrote about the numbers in the Upjohn report at the Brookings Institution Blog on Social Mobility

Comments about the blog said that the Promise shouldn't be expected to address all problems of education, poverty and inequality. Ready says the Promise has been "driving the agenda." But he says there should be a broader effort in the Kalamazoo community.