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Askwith Essentials — Behind the Numbers: The Boston Globe’s Valedictorian Project

On Tuesday, May 21, Askwith Forums will host a panel discussion focusing on the stories and data behind the Boston Globe's Valedictorian Project.

Note: Attendees must register or can join via livestream:

High school graduation is supposed to leave students hopeful, inspired, and ready for what lies ahead. Class valedictorians, especially, are expected to see the world as their oyster. However, a recent, data-rich series in The Boston Globe that followed the lives and careers of some of Boston’s high school valedictorians after graduation suggests that in Boston, a successful academic career in high school is no guarantee of success. One in four valedictorians did not finish college within six years. Nearly a quarter had wanted to become doctors, but none did. Nearly half earn less than $50,000, and four have been homeless.

The Globe’s findings are shocking and highlight the inequities underlying the education system and the societal barriers to success. On Tuesday, May 21, Askwith Forums will host a panel discussion focusing on the stories and data behind these findings, what they reveal about the failings of our schools at both the high school and college levels, and potential opportunities for improvement.

The forum will be held in conjunction with the Strategic Data Project’s 10th annual convening, “Strength in Numbers.”

Dean Bridget Terry Long will serve as moderator. The panel will include students profiled in The Boston Globe article, reporters, and a Harvard Kennedy School professor:

  • Madelyn Disla, 2007 valedictorian; program coordinator, Massachusetts Rehabilitation Center
  • Malcolm Gay, arts reporter, The Boston Globe
  • Joshua Goodman, associate professor of public policy, Harvard Kennedy School
  • Meghan Irons, social justice and race reporter, The Boston Globe
  • Abadur Rahman, 2006 valedictorian; economic development director, Codman Square Neighborhood Development Corporation