By TRILBY BERESFORD | Reporter
Driven by his belief that “any child can learn,” Palisadian Frank Baxter, a local investment banker, identified the need for children in low-income families to access tailored education systems that would steer them toward academic success.
He began working with students attending South Central middle schools in 1986. “Their future was bright, but grades were low,” he told the Palisadian-Post. An initial effort was spent on facilitating tutoring, in which the students thrived.
Baxter seized an opportunity for growth in charter schools, eventually co-founding the largest network in Los Angeles County: the Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools. There are currently 28 middle and high schools serving 13,000 students.
To honor this achievement, the Reason Foundation has awarded Baxter the 2018 Savas Award for Public-Private Partnerships.
“[Ambassador] Baxter and Alliance schools have made a significant, positive difference in the lives of thousands of students,” the press release stated.
“They’re helping low-income students grow, thrive and perform at high academic levels and demonstrating how school choice and charter schools can give all students, regardless of income status or zip code, an opportunity to attend schools focused on academic growth, college prep, innovation and accountability.”
Baxter shared with the Post that his goal is “for 75 percent of students to graduate from a four-year college degree.” He gave the example of a young man from East LA who attended Dartmouth College and is now an engineer.
“Young people are amazing,” Baxter said with clarity. “I feel lucky to know so many of them.”
Committed to helping politicians in favor of school reform, Baxter is also active in EdVoice, a nonprofit organization that advocates for kids in his native Sacramento. On that note, he extends a message to all: “Everyone should get involved, whether it’s in the political process or helping local schools [improve their curriculums].”
Of course, Baxter’s passion for education doesn’t stop at children. Instead, he understands that learning is something that can, and should, continue indefinitely.
At age 70, Baxter decided to become proficient in Spanish, for which he completes weekly tutorials via Skype.