Authentic Civic Engagement
Much has been said about the achievement gap, which Democracy Prep strives to close every day. However, very little is said about the “civic achievement gap.” National testing, academic studies, and political polling show that low-income, people of color are far less active participants in our democracy.
We believe that all public schools should place an explicit focus on preparing scholars to become active citizens and leaders in our democracy. Through civic initiatives, community engagement, speech and debate, and authentic student and family advocacy for more school choice, our scholars acquire the knowledge, skills, and attitude to change the world.
Each Election Day, elementary and middle school scholars run our “Get Out The Vote” campaign, standing on busy street corners wearing t-shirts and handing out flyers that read “I Can’t Vote, but You Can!” Since its inception, the campaign has encouraged thousands of Harlem, Camden, Washington, D.C., and Baton Rouge resident to get out and vote. Our scholars are the youngest in history to testify in front of the New York State Senate and Assembly, and the New York City Council.
Educating All Students, in All Subjects
We actively recruit students who are the least served by traditional public schools and other charter operators, including English language learners and special education students. We provide these students with the same transformational education and support that we provide to all our students including all elective offerings.
In addition, just like a traditional public school and unlike many charters, we welcome new scholars at all grade levels at the beginning of each year. This provides students who have previously been left behind with the opportunity to embark on the path to college and civic success whenever there is an available seat at Democracy Prep.
Running Schools on Public Funds
Democracy Prep funds all of its schools with only the public money we receive from the city, state, and federal government. Failing districts often use resources in a manner that runs counter to the evidence about the practices that most improve the effectiveness of teaching and learning in the classroom. Democracy Prep efficiently spends money as close to the student as possible, spending the most on great teachers and much less on its comparatively lean administration.
Democracy Prep also seeks private philanthropy for strategic initiatives separate from the running of its schools, including private facilities’ costs and alumni support. These initiatives are essential for the replication of our schools to serve more students, promote education reform, and share promising practices with the broader education community.