In 2006, we watched the documentary “Waiting for Superman”. The movie followed academically motivated 8th grade students who did not “win the lottery” to attend a high performing charter school in Chicago. This experience followed an identical “real life” experience Tony witnessed years before in Chicago. In both instances, the unlucky lottery applicants were destined to enroll in low performing public high schools where, statistically, the rate of boys entering long term incarceration and the pregnancy rate of young girls was ten times the schools’ college acceptance rate. The movie was a reminder of what we already knew – all children, not just the lucky few, need access to high quality educational opportunities. Our children deserve it and the future of our country depends on it.
We feel a moral imperative and an economic necessity to offer quality educational opportunities to all children. Our education system is not preparing our students for jobs of the future. This is already having a detrimental effect on our state economy and the problem will grow if not rectified immediately. The achievement gap between affluent and low-income children in Colorado is at a record high. The cost of delaying action is huge. When youth do not complete high school, their chance of being incarcerated or receiving welfare services increases dramatically putting a huge burden on state resources. Even if compassion doesn’t motivate action, common sense business pragmatism requires immediate action, as it is far more economically effective to provide support in early years so that all our children have the tools and resources to become successful, happy, healthy contributors to our society.
Since the founding of Summit 54, we have discovered many opportunities to improve the lives of children through education. We have partnered with a national, top college preparatory program, helped fund a promising new elementary, inner-city charter school, and sponsored a nationally acclaimed program in Colorado that reverses summer learning loss for low income students.
Summit 54’s efforts now reach more than 1,000 students annually. We are using data driven metrics to provide for optimal utilization of resources and for the leveraging of private philanthropic funding with public sources. We are helping foster partnerships between school districts, government, private, and philanthropic organizations to deliver the best results for students as well as the state of Colorado.
We resonate with the expression, “A goal without a plan is simply a dream”. Summit 54 is helping students develop and execute action plans to attain their goals. The best metric of Summit 54’s results are the look on students’ faces when they talk about their future academic plans and goals including college and career.
We hope you will support Summit 54’s efforts!
Tony & Terri Caine