Through the Education Lens

SEED: Public Boarding School!

CJW, May 24, 2010 9:03 AM


"No One Has Pulled Themselves Up By Their Own Bootstraps . . .
Everyone Has A Story About Someone Who Has Helped Them."
--   SEED  Faculty Member

Watch "60 Minutes" Videos Below

Byron Pitts gave an update on the SEED boarding schools last night on "60 Minutes" and it would be hard to find a more empathetic reporter on the subject.  PItts was not only a stutterer, but also illiterate until age 12, as he revealed in his best-selling book, "Step Out On Nothing", previously covered by The Daily Riff.  He claims an English professor in college "saved his life" and goes on to describe how she had nothing to gain by helping him, but did it anyway. (see 2 min. below - Vid #2).

The importance of available and positive adult role models and mentoring opportunities for our youth is the remarkable parallel between the Pitts and SEED stories.  One faculty member emphatically clarified that their mission was not just about raising test scores, but about "changing their (students') values".

Eric Adler and Rajiv Vinnekota created SEED a decade ago from a "brainstorming session between friends."   Note our bold highlights to this quote below from SEED's website.   In order for any learning to take place at a rigorous level, other essential ingredients are necessary:

"The need for a boarding school that provides a safe and secure environment, constant access to role models, and a rigorous academic and life skills program is obvious.  Parents, public officials, educators, and many others from across the country have expressed a desire for SEED to provide a public college preparatory boarding school education to young people in their area.  We are committed to exploring these opportunities, driven by the dream of serving as many students as possible."

Three Videos Below:
#1- 60 Minutes Segment on SEED
#2 - Byron Pitts story on 60 Minutes - 2 min.
#3 - The Importance of Male Role Modeling For Boys


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Thanks for the post! I’m an employee of SEED, the organization featured in this 60 Minutes newscast, and we’re excited about this story. Follow us on Twitter or become our fan on Facebook if you’re interested in learning more about SEED or an upcoming Hollywood film on education reform called Waiting for Superman, by Davis Guggenheim.

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I am a former employee of SEED, and while I continue to respect Raj and Eric's work and vision. I have to question the feasibility of this project. The story kind of glossed over the fact that it took $60 million in capital, as well as nearly $40,000 per student per year in operational costs to run this school. The Capital was raised by private funders and the operational costs are paid for with taxpayer money. $40,000 per student is astronomically higher than what the average public school spends and so the fact that SEED outperforms the average public school should come as no surprise. What we should be discussing is the efficacy of that kind of moneybomb into ed reform. Could that money be spent better elsewhere? For all the money spent there, SEED is only graduating 20 or so kids a year, and that's during a good year.

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