DISD Deciding Whether to Expand Ivy League Program

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Dallas ISD wants to spend $2 million to expand a program that would supposedly help underprivileged students get into the Ivy Leagues. The program has been in Dallas ISD since 2006, but began as an after school program in Wichita Falls, Texas, with no funding.

Students enrolled in the Academic Success Program do things like enroll in SAT camps, attend retreats, engage in monthly parent/student meetings, and receive academic help and assistance with college applications.

Participants have already received more than $60 million in financial aid offers and acceptance to top-tier and Ivy League universities.

Though the program used to focus exclusively students who are the firs tin their families to attend college, it now said that is its “primary focus.” The total students enrolled in the 12 schools in which the program operates in Dallas is 726. Percentages of underrepresented minorities, first generation and/or low income students in each of the schools range from 52.1 to 100 percent, making for an average of 91.6.

The problem is justifying squeezing $2 million more out of an already beleaguered education budget to pay for extra help for students who are not what the program initially targeted.

The school board should make a final decision on the program Thursday.

Holly LaFon has written and worked for various local publications including D Magazine and Examiner.

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