Op-Ed: For students, ‘zip code does not define destiny’

As the founder and Executive Director of KIPP Delta Public Schools—a network of four college-preparatory public charter schools in Helena and Blytheville, Arkansas—I have dedicated my career to preparing some of the most underserved students in Arkansas for college and the world beyond, says a contributor to Takepart.com. Ten years after opening our doors to 65 fifth graders in 2002, we now serve over 1,150 students in Pre K-12. Critical to our growth and success is the enduring belief that zip code does not define destiny. Our students have consistently invalidated statistics suggesting those living in lower income communities are somehow less capable. Rather, 90 percent college and military persistence rates from our first three graduating classes suggest quite the opposite. With this background in mind, there is one topic I would like to discuss in greater detail: the importance of educational choice within rural communities…

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