Beyond the Book: Background information when reading The Promise

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The Promise

How One Woman Made Good on Her Extraordinary Pact to Send a Classroom of 1st Graders to College

by Oral Lee Brown, Caille Millner

The Promise
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  • First Published:
    Apr 2005, 272 pages
    Dec 2007, 272 pages

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Beyond the Book

Oral Lee Brown was born in Mississippi in the early 1940s.  She is the ninth of twelve children born to 'old-fashioned farming folk' who grew cotton and corn.  Today she lives in Oakland, California.

Although California reports an official graduation rate of 87% to the Federal Government using a Federal formula, on the Dept of State website they say the rate is closer to 71% (based on the % of freshmen who enter high school and go on to earn a diploma four years later).  That number is troubling enough, but things look even worse when broken down by ethnic group - according to The Civil Rights Project at Harvard the Californian graduation rate for African-Americans is 57% (50% for boys) and 60% for Latinos (54% for boys).  The Manhattan Institute for Policy Research (which tracks public school graduation rates across the nation) reports a similar picture across the USA, based on ...

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