Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The POWER of a TIE

At Urban Prep Charter Academy in Chicago, the only public, all male, all African-American school in the area, the students have a strict dress code.  The ensemble consists of khaki pants, black blazers, and red ties.

There is only one exception to the rule.

A student may switch to a red & gold tie once he has been accepted to a 4 year college or university.

This year the entire senior class, 107 students, have traded their red ties for red & gold ties.

Yep, its true.  The entire senior class has been accepted to, as of now, 72 different college/universities throughout the United States.  This is also the FIRST graduating class of the school since it first opened in 2006.  WOW!!  Urban Prep is a charter school that uses the "lottery" method to select students for enrollment, from discouraged neighborhoods.

As an entering freshman each student recieves a college conselor and a wrist watch.  Watches are given to signify part of the school's creed, "We make no excuses".

So far the students have also recieved $2.2 million in scholarships and grants.  Students and parents are required to attend workshops on how to gain finacial aid, to help pay for college.  The charter school is funded by the help of private donations.

The student's response to longer school hours (8am-4:30), strict dress code, and double english requirements, just to name a few things that distinguish this school from others, has been positive.

After all, who wants to be the only high school senior wearing a RED tie near the end of the school year?

Im excited about this school, and will try my best to keep track in four years to see how many make it through.  I know it has gotten harder and harder to pay for higher education, and its a shame that money is the reason so many people miss out.  This story is exactly what TALKSTILLCHEAP wishes to exemplify.  Tim King, and other educators, had a vision, set out to accomplish it, and BEAT THE ODDS!!!

NOT only did they speak about change in 2002, but they produced change by opening their first school in 2006 and graduating their first class in 2010 with 100% of the students, African American Males, accepted to a four year college/university.  NOW their Talk was NOT CHEAP :)

KNOW SOMEONE backing up their talk with some action?  Email me at  I would love to hear about them, and place their story on the site.

1 comment:

  1. Wow that's great! Wish Oprah would've opened her all girls school in inner city Chicago as opposed to Zimbabwe or wherever the heck it was! Especially since she had child sex abusers on staff!! I would love to see something similar for African American females...but then again, they are go getters on their own so they don't need this as much as black men...

    Black men need these programs way more than black women do! And that's the truth! Cause if black women don't make it right to college... they could have 4 kids and still make it out the projects and support their families before these lazy baby makers also known as African American males! So yea black dudes need this program more than black ladies! It'll teach them how not to be good for nothing, lazy, pants saggers... probably just like their good for nothing fathers!