On Tuesday July 24, members of the GEAR UP community held a briefing on capitol hill entitled: GEAR UP: The College Access Program that Drives Education and Economic Success in Your Community. The briefing, hosted by NCCEP, was convened to share success stories and to learn why GEAR UP is widely viewed as the most effective solution for increasing academic achievement, high school graduation rates, college enrollment rates, and economic development in high poverty communities.
Congressman Chaka Fattah (PA‐2)
Congressman Ruben Hinojosa (TX‐15)
Lisa Brady Gill, Texas Instruments (invited)
Shelley Davis, Director, California GEAR UP
Hector Garza, Alumnus from Texas Region One ESC GEAR UP
Joshua Sparks, Alumnus from GEAR UP Kentucky
Nathan R. Monell, Executive Director, NCCEP (Moderator)
As one of the featured speakers, California GEAR UP Director Shelley Davis shared the success of GEAR UP in California and also how GEAR UP is addressing the state’s education challenges. Here is an excerpt:
In our state, the challenges for achieving educational equity are unprecedented. Funding for K-12 public schools remains a critical challenge while tuition and fees for postsecondary education continues to rise. The nearly four million students who are Latino or African-American have a 1 in 20 chance of graduating from a California public university. Clearly, our prosperity is dependent on us changing these odds. With an increasingly diverse student population and an ever widening achievement gap, the GEAR UP mandate to serve low-income students in high poverty communities – most of whom are African-American and Latino –positions us to address this challenge 24 hours a day every day.
In California, GEAR UP funds have supported the State grant and over 50 partnership projects since 1999. The California State grant was funded for its third six-year cycle on October 1, 2011. Working in partnership with other college access programs and initiatives, our program goal is: Develop and sustain the organizational capacity of middle schools to prepare all students for high school and higher education through a statewide network of support for adults — counselors, faculty, school leaders and families –who influence middle school students.
We believe that with enhanced organizational capacity, schools will be able to educate all students to the high levels of mastery required for college admission and graduation as well as for the increasingly technological world where the contributions of graduates are needed for both individual and societal benefit.
The briefing included testimony from student alumnus and representatives Fattah and Hinojosa, all sharing the power and impact GEAR UP has and continues to have across the country in creating a college-going culture.
For more information on GEAR UP success stories, check out the GEAR UP Works! blog prepared by NCCEP.