While a student at Brown University, Dan spent a year living with the homeless and working in soup kitchens in New York City and Washington, D.C. He served as a VISTA volunteer and, with his wife, was the first house manager for Advent House, a shelter for the homeless in Providence, R.I. When he began his teaching career, he spent five years at a school for delinquent boys in Narragansett, R.I.
In 1984, at the ripe old age of 30, Dan founded Community Preparatory School in the heart of South Providence. For more than thirty years, he has implemented and refined innovative teaching techniques that have enabled Community Prep to grow from a small, neighborhood inner-city school to a model in urban education.
Today, Community Prep serves more than 140 students and has been acclaimed by The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Wall Street Journal. Ninety-seven percent of the school's graduates have been accepted into college preparatory high school programs, and 83% -- more than twice the urban public-school average -- are attending or have graduated from college.
At the heart of a Community Prep education is the trimesterly parent-student-teacher goal-setting conference -- a highly successful technique pioneered at Community Prep and now widely employed across the country. At the conferences, students set lofty goals -- goals that have personal meaning to them -- and, with their teachers and parents, create plans for achieving those goals.
In the classroom, you find rigorous academics, a teaching style that instills values and self-esteem, community service (which is required of every student), and family support. Studies integrate reading, writing, math, science and creative arts. Field trips and experiments predominate. Students keep personal journals to promote writing skills and free expression. And, Dan's acclaimed "Calculator Club" encourages students to beat the calculator by performing math functions in their heads.
Dan uses classroom volunteers to help provide the individual attention essential to any student's success. And, every week he provides teachers with free time to discuss each student's progress.
Now Dan Corley is guiding Community Prep in its third decade. His goal is to share the school's vision and programs with the broader educational community. As Dan tells his students, if you can dream it, with hard work, you can make it happen.
Robert Hahn is professor and director of economics at the Smith School at the University of Oxford; a senior fellow at the Institute for New Economic Thinking and an associate member at Nuffield, Oxford; a non-resident senior fellow at Brookings; and a senior fellow at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy. From 1999 to 2008, Professor Hahn served as the director of the AEI-Brookings Joint Center, a leader in policy research in law and economics, regulation, and antitrust. Previously, he worked for the U.S. President's Council of Economic Advisers, where he helped design the innovative market-based cap-and-trade system for limiting smokestack sulfur emissions. He also has served on the faculties of Harvard University and Carnegie Mellon University.
Professor Hahn is a frequent contributor to leading scholarly journals including the American Economic Review, Science, and the Yale Law Journal, as well as to general-interest periodicals including the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times.
Professor Hahn has served as a consultant to government and business on a variety of issues including regulation, competition and strategy. He is currently conducting a number of field experiments aimed at encouraging cost-effective conservation of energy and water resources. In addition, Professor Hahn is co-founder of the Community Preparatory School, an urban middle school in Providence, Rhode Island, that provides opportunities for students to reach their full academic and personal potential, regardless of the family income.