The Promise, aimed at boosting academics and reversing the exodus from Pittsburgh and its public schools, is fashioned after similar efforts in Kalamazoo, Mich. and El Dorado, Ark. It's also hoped that the Promise students will return to Pittsburgh, as John Tokarski plans, when they graduate. ...
... A family moved from a suburb about 50 miles from Pittsburgh so their 2-year-old daughter can attend the public schools, beginning in kindergarten, making her eligible for the full scholarship.
Better city public schools can attract students from the suburbs. They can't, and won't, reverse the exodus. Again, another passage from the article:
With the collapse of the steel industry 30 years ago, the population of Pittsburgh and its public schools plummeted as people fled in search of jobs. The city's population of 424,000 in 1980 plunged to just over 311,000 in 2007; the school district lost nearly one-third of its students from 1988 to 2008.
And enrollment is expected to keep dropping , from some 26,600 today to 22,000 by 2015. But that trend appears to be slowing, thanks to the Promise.
Who left? The affluent, the educated and the young, said Saleem Ghubril, executive director of the Pittsburgh Promise. Who stayed? Lower-income families, the elderly and the less-educated.
"The affluent, the educated and the young." The most geographically mobile. The most likely to leave. The Pittsburgh Promise will provide the means to get out for "lower-income families" and "the less-educated." The Promise will promote out-migration from the city among populations typically stuck in a neighborhood with few prospects for gainful employment. And that's great news.
On the other side of the coin, the Promise will attract the affluent and the educated. The Promise will promote in-migration to the city among populations typically hopping from one neighborhood to the next in search of better opportunities for their children. And that's great news.
If Pittsburgh wants its Promise graduates to stick around, then the offer should be only for local community colleges and trade schools. However, that won't bring folks in from the burbs. The ad hoc inclusion of PA private colleges is very telling. Graduates from private post-secondary institutions are the least likely to stay in-state. A better idea would be to open it up to any private school, regardless of location. Pittsburgh would draw in even more families, from all over the country.