More than 20 years later, the answers are sometimes surprising, sometimes satisfying and sometimes heart-rending. One would become a doctor. One would become a cellist. One would become a UPS driver. One would kill herself. One would kill his father. One would become a politician. One would become a cop. One would become a drug dealer.
mhoye: "I'm deeply uncomfortable with this notion that our approaches to addressing systemic problems will be informed by the actions of a handful of very rich people doing what amounts to a bunch of random crap."
followed by this,
Miko: "On the other hand, why not - it's what they owe their success to."
Most studies find that, in America, about half of the advantages of having a parent with a high income are passed on to the next generation," their report concludes. "This means that one of the biggest predictors of an American child's future economic success -- the identity and characteristics of his or her parents -- is predetermined and outside that child's control. To be sure, the apple can fall far from the tree and often does in individual cases, but relative to other factors, the tree dominates the picture. These findings are more striking when put in comparative context. There is little available evidence that the United States has more relative mobility than other advanced nations. If anything, the data seem to suggest the opposite.
Yet when we measure monetary giving as a percentage of income in order to ascertain the level of one’s “sacrifice,” we find a surprising result: it is low-income working families that are the most generous group in America, giving away about 4.5 percent of their income on average. This compares to about 2.5 percent among the middle class, and 3 percent among high-income families.
The vast majority of givers believe the bulk of their donations help those less fortunate than themselves. In fact, less than one-third of the money individuals gave to nonprofits in 2005 went to help the economically disadvantaged, according to a new study commissioned by Google.org, the philanthropic arm of Google...only 8% of donations provide food, shelter or other basic necessities. At most, an additional 23% is directed to the poor -- either providing other direct benefits (such as medical treatment and scholarships) or through initiatives creating opportunity and empowerment (such as literacy and job training programs). It's just not true, in other words, that the major beneficiaries of charity and philanthropy are the disadvantaged.
...The "charity gap" is even wider among the affluent. Wealthy individuals claim, according to a Bank of America Study, that their giving is driven by a "feeling that those who have more should give to those with less." But people who earn more than $1 million per year give only 4% of their donations for basic needs and an additional 19% to other programs geared toward the poor
Proctor understands that those numbers are vital to any assessment of the program. He knows that the Dreamers’ high school graduation rate of 83 percent far surpassed Prince George’s overall rate in 1995. He also knows that the vast majority did not finish college, a fact that is true of many Dreamers nationally, according to a summary of several studies by the “I Have a Dream” Foundation.
From New York to Portland to Houston, the Dreamers graduated from high school and enrolled in college in far higher numbers than other students. But they often struggled to finish college.
It was often difficult to predict who would make it and who wouldn’t. One kid who looked hopeless might end up graduating from college, as Darone Robinson did. Another kid who got A’s and scored nearly 1,200 on his SAT might drop out, as was the case with Hasani Chapman, one of Darone’s classmates.
What Proctor learned, he says, is that Dreamers’ achievements cannot be defined by a diploma, an attitude that he says Pollin and Cohen eventually embraced. The doctor and the pharmacist are successes, for sure. But so are the UPS driver and the Prince George’s police officer. They may not have college degrees, Proctor says, but they have a sense of purpose and ambition.
Ultimately, Proctor argues, the program’s enduring value lies in the relationships he and his students cultivated over time. His mission, he says, was not to bemoan their failures, but to help his students find alternate paths to success. To say, as he did to Jeffery Norris and others, “Let’s try something different.”
“All we could do was give them the academic help that could make them successful. We could give them options,” he says. “You couldn’t force them.”
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