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THE GREATER EAST HIGH FOUNDATION
BUILDING ON A PROUD TRADITION
The Greater East High Foundation, Inc. was chartered by the State of Tennessee as a not for profit Corporation on November 17, 2004. Several thoughts, considered collectively, inspired its creation:
A. For twenty some odd years after its inception, East High School was among the finest, if not the finest school, public or private, in the state of Tennessee.
B. Many alumni cherish the memory of their years at East.
C. Most alumni feel that their learning experiences at East contributed significantly to the successes in their lives.
D. The teachers who made East High School great have never been duly honored, either collectively, or individually. Neither has J.P. Snider, our first principal, been properly recognized.
E. In consideration of the above, it is probable that a substantial number of alumni would become enthusiastically, some even passionately, involved in a well crafted effort to restore the past leadership role of East High School. Proper tribute to past faculty would be part and parcel of this process.
F. Such enthusiasm can be a powerful, even decisive, factor in many accomplishments.
G. It goes without saying that new, creative, even entrepreneurial, approaches to inner city public education must be conceived and nurtured.
H. The Memphis economy cannot prosper over the long haul if our median public school graduate is not competitive in the national and international marketplace. Social problems would surely follow on the heels of economic decline.
I. The main mission of The Greater East High Foundation, as we see it, is to prepare inner city youth to be professional, productive, and competitive contributors to our regional economy; and to be responsible and respected members of our society.
J. Our goal should be to create a model at East High School of how to accomplish this mission. We should prepare our graduates for mid-range and higher careers in the large growing segments of our regional economy. Emphasis should be on health care, distribution, hospitality and teaching, among others.
K. East High School was conceived circa 1947 as a flagship for the Memphis City School System. Our hope is that by 2007, a full sixty years later, a proud new East High School flagship will stand reinvented, for a new mission, in a new era. Our goal is not to create a disequilibrium of opportunity within the public school system. Our objective, rather, is to create a model so proficient, so compelling, that other well-financed and enthusiastic foundations will surely follow our lead. Perhaps we will inspire a proliferation of similar organizations working hand in hand with students and faculty on other individual school campuses. The stage would then be set for some old fashioned competition among this array of public-private partnerships.
L. In an overview, the East High School Model might add three distinctive flavors to the existing public school system:
1. Local Empowerment - It would encourage substantial autonomy in programs and systems implementation on a school-by-school basis. Many key decisions would be left in the hands of on site administration and faculty, working hand in hand with directors of respective supporting foundations and the Memphis City Schools.
2. Private Sector Dynamism - In an environment where change is mandatory, the risks inherent in the innovation process are far higher than in a status quo situation. Even after the most diligent research, the trial and error process must come into play and inevitable errors will occur. A private organization, like The Greater East High Foundation, is better able to admit mistakes, take losses and then press forward with its winning ideas, than is a public institution.
3. Competition between credible foundations could become quite intense. This would be a healthy condition. With local empowerment, private investment and intense competition in play, we would begin to have a formula sounding very much like that of the American Free Enterprise System. This business sector model works better than any other in the world - and it has a track record to prove it.
M. Just as the business sector free enterprise model earns vast profits, so might our East High School Model. If we are right in our thinking, the profits in our case will accrue over time to the public at large. These profits would derive from the enhanced future growth rate of our local economy relative to those of the nation and the world. In a global knowledge based economy, the relative quality of the educational background of the working age population is arguably the single most important determinate of the relative growth of any region's economy over the long term. Relatively speaking, to upgrade our median educational background is to ultimately increase our median standard of living.
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