More Than the Old College Try at Democracy Prep

Read this piece at Manhattan Institute


More Than the Old College Try at Democracy Prep by Charles Upton Sahm

It’s college acceptance season, and if you’re a senior at one of Democracy Prep’s high schools in New York City chances are you are very happy: No charter network has demonstrated more success getting its students into and through college.

A video of one Democracy Prep student, Xaviera Zime, opening her acceptance email from Harvard University went viral recently. (No more “fat envelopes;” it’s all done via cyberspace these days.) Xaviera is the third of three sisters, Democracy Prep graduates all, to be admitted to an Ivy League college. Two years ago, her oldest sister Chris got into Dartmouth College, and a year later her sister Ella got into Yale University. All three emigrated with their mom from the African nation of Cameroon. (Cue “Hamilton”: Immigrants, they get the job done!)

The Zime family is not that much of an outlier at Democracy Prep. According to the network, last year 189 of the 195 seniors in its three high schools that had graduating classes went on to college. And although the sample size is small (the network has graduated fewer than 400 students), the network estimates that 80% of its graduates either are still in college or have graduated.

Democracy Prep’s impact is not limited to New York. The network’s high school in Camden, N.J., is graduating its first class this year. All 34 of this year’s seniors have already received at least one college acceptance. This is revolutionary change for a city that five years ago only had three students graduate high school “college ready,” according to the College Board.


Read the entire piece here at New York Daily News, originally appearing on December 29, 2017. 


Charles Sahm is the director of education policy at the Manhattan Institute. Follow him on Twitter here.