In 2005 Kalamazoo, like many mid-sized cities in America’s “rust belt”, was visibly fading, having gradually lost jobs, home values and tax revenues.
On November 10 of that year, a meeting of the Kalamazoo School Board opened. Janice Brown, the Superintendent of the Kalamazoo Public Schools, stepped to the podium. Brown was about to reveal a closely held secret that she hoped would revolutionize the lives of her students and reach beyond them to the city itself.
A group of anonymous donors had funded a scholarship program to be known as the “Kalamazoo Promise”. Under its terms, any student who lived within the school district, attended its public schools and graduated from one of the district’s public high schools would be eligible for a scholarship paying all tuition and mandatory fees for four years at any Michigan public college or university, or at a community college until attaining a certificate. A student would have ten years to complete the degree. And the program was designed to continue long into the future.
Source : Lawrence M. Glaxer, The Promise, Dome, May 18, 2012.