A Nashville charter school operator, meeting a challenge of the Clinton Global Initiative, announced the creation Wednesday of a new citywide initiative aimed at tripling the number of low-income college-ready students by 2020.
Jeremy Kane, who started the charter network LEAD Public Schools six years ago, has launched “Nashville Commits: The College-Ready Partnership” in an effort to team his organization with several Metro schools, the business, philanthropic and faith community, as well as educators, parents and students across Nashville to reach the ambitious goal.
The plan would “dramatically transform the lives of kids and our city,” Kane said.
The announcement came one day after Kane returned from the three-day Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York where he made the commitment to former President Bill Clinton’s philanthropic organization.
In a letter to supporters Wednesday, Kane said Clinton earlier this summer “challenged me to think about what could have the biggest impact on Nashville’s future and to make a commitment through his foundation to help make that vision real.”
Kane, a friend of Clinton’s for more than a decade, chose to tackle college-readiness.
“To understand the urgency of this work, we only need to look at the statistics from the Class of 2011,” Kane wrote. “Of the 4,300 graduates that year, only 333 who graduated with a 21 or above on their ACT were low-income; when you take out the academic magnet schools, MLK and Hume Fogg, the number drops to 239.
“This is a trend we must reverse,” he said.
According to a LEAD Public Schools press release, the charter organization and its partners intend to work with other groups and individuals to “develop and implement their own unique plans” to increase-college readiness. Programs — which have to be concrete and measurable — can be new or existing projects.
Partners are to agree to make commitments in one of five areas: health and safety, economic empowerment; faith and communities; family and neighborhoods, and academic readiness.
“Commitments can be on any scale,” according to an overview of “Nashville Commits.”
“For instance, a nonprofit after-school program might commit to expand an effective program into new sections of Nashville or a high school might commit to partner with the Oasis Center to provide ACT tutoring for its students.
“No matter their size or scope, commitments help partners translate practical goals into meaningful and measurable results.”