#299: Social Entrepreneur Works To End 'Summer Slide' And Close Achievement Gap For Urban Poor
September 15, 2015 - Read the full Forbes article and watch the interview here: http://onforb.es/1NzRbYu. Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwitunes or on Stitcher by clicking here: http://bit.ly/ymotwstitcher. The achievement gap GPS -3.23% between affluent and poor students gets worse every summer as the less fortunate forget much of what they learned during the school year, a phenomenon known as the “summer slide.” Karim Abouelnaga, the young social entrepreneur who launched Practice Makes Perfect, explains, “The achievement gap is damaging to our society at a basic level. In 2009, McKinsey & Company estimated that the gap was costing our economy $310-$525 billion in GDP each year, which is the equivalent of a permanent national recession. The achievement gap is likely to widen as our income gap widens.” “Our nation’s summer school system is broken. It’s well-intentioned but, as currently conceived, it doesn’t work. In reality, summer school is punitive; it’s for students who failed to learn enough to be promoted. It’s taught by teachers, many of whom are burned out from the previous 10 months. They put low-performing students together in a class to struggle. Students are assigned worksheets for tests that don’t really matter. They’re not engaged. They merely “do their time” in hopes of getting promoted and the cycle will likely repeat next year,” he observes. Practice Makes Perfect operates in New York City’s toughest schools, where Abouelnaga observes, “Fewer than half the students in summer school pass end-of-summer reading and math tests and yet they will be promoted anyway because the city’s promotion policy also factors in attendance and classwork.” The Cornell-educated Abouelnaga is proud of the program he’s created to address the problems he’s observed. “At Practice Makes Perfect, we have re-imagined the summer learning experience. We work closely with schools to operate summer school programs for them,” he says. Please consider whether a friend or colleague might benefit from this piece and, if so, share it.