The Gift of Education

How a Tuition Guarantee Program Changed the Lives of Inner-City Youth

By Norman A. Newberg
Foreword by Michelle Fine

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership
Paperback : 9780791466209, 243 pages, June 2006
Hardcover : 9780791466193, 243 pages, October 2005

Table of contents


Part One: Giving the Gift

1. Giving the Gift: Catching the Ball

Part Two: Receiving

2. Raising the Level of Play: Junior High School

3. Dropping the Ball: Dropouts

4. Making It: High School

Part Three: Paying Back

5. Living the Gift: Post Secondary Education

6. Conclusion

Appendix A: Comparative Table


Tells the story of how two philanthropists promised each of the 112 graduating sixth graders at Belmont Elementary, a school in one of Philadelphia’s poorest neighborhoods, a fully paid college education to the institution of their choice.


At the June 17, 1987 sixth-grade graduation ceremony at Belmont Elementary, in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Philadelphia, philanthropists George and Diane Weiss promised each student a fully paid college education to the institution of their choice upon the students' graduation from high school. The Gift of Education describes this chance-of-a-lifetime gift and the pressure to use it. It details and analyzes the experiences of twelve students from the original class—six who graduated from high school and completed some postsecondary education and six who did not finish high school. Their stories illustrate how children, when properly challenged and supported, can succeed, that philanthropy alone cannot address the severe conditions that millions of poor children experience daily, and that government investment in inner-city education and communities has been woefully inadequate.

Norman A. Newberg is Senior Fellow in the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania and Executive Director of the Say Yes to Education program.