Phi Beta Cons

Hope and Promise

The Washington Post has written a poignant series of articles about the Seat Pleasant 59 – a class of fifth-graders who lived in an impoverished part of Prince George’s County, Md., in 1988. That year, two wealthy philanthropists promised them scholarships to college if they worked hard over the years and qualified. Twenty-three years later, the story of their experiences is thought-provoking, to say the least. The three-part series is a little disjointed, full of lots of individuals who appear, disappear, and reappear, but it is also fascinating. (There are video interviews with some of the students, now in their 30s.)

The series could be the basis of a book. But it would be a rather sad book.

Jane S. Shaw — Jane S. Shaw retired as president of the John W. Pope Center for Higher Education Policy in 2015. Before joining the Pope Center in 2006, Shaw spent 22 years in ...

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