Posts Tagged ‘blogs’
As you can see, I’m no longer updating this blog with much regularity. I’m leaving it in place here on my website because it’s a useful (to me, at least) archive of posts from 2008 to 2012, mostly relating to my first book, Whatever It Takes, and the Harlem Children’s Zone.
I’m still regularly posting new information about my books, articles, and speaking engagements, but I’m posting it elsewhere. Some links for those updates:
Some reactions to my article in the Times Magazine on President Obama, Roseland, and poverty:
1. Whet Moser at Chicagomag.com makes the point that Obama’s healthcare reforms are arguably themselves an anti-poverty program (and one I didn’t give much space to in the piece).
2. Amanda Erickson at the Atlantic’s Cities blog reflects on why the Harlem Children’s Zone hasn’t been replicated more successfully. (I agree with her that Geoffrey Canada is a rare leader, but I think there are lots of other great leaders out there.)
3. Jared Bernstein weighs in on jobs, schools, and the Furman Effect.
4. And the folks at Longreads chose the article as one of the week’s best.
Three fairly random items from various sources, each, in its own way, heart-warming (for me, at least):
1. In 2010, James Shechter, a sophomore at the Haverford School, a private school near Philadelphia, came across the article I wrote in 2008 on schools in New Orleans in the New York Times Magazine. He was inspired by two of the educators I wrote about, Tiffany Hardrick and Keith Sanders, who were, at the time, starting a new charter school called Miller-McCoy Academy. According to a recent article in the Neighbors Main Line Blog, Shechter contacted Hardrick and Sanders, spent the summer in New Orleans tutoring Miller-McCoy students, and has since raised close to $10,000 for the school.
2. In December, the Education Writers Association’s Educated Reporter blog gave its “Water Cooler Award (for one of the most talked-about stories of the year)” to my article in the New York Times Magazine about character, “What If the Secret to Success Is Failure?” (The article will be included, in expanded and adapted form, in my book “How Children Succeed,” which will be published on September 4.)
3. In O: The Oprah Magazine, the writer and comedian Ali Wentworth selected “Whatever It Takes” as one of the “books that made a difference” in her life:
“This is a life-changing book,” Wentworth says of Tough’s look at the work of social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada, who created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a cradle-to-college, community-based organization. “My mantra is ‘The art is in the doing.’ A lot of people talk about polls and research, but I have a hard time with all the red tape. I just go, I get it, but can we rush a can of soup to the family right now?”
Some response from around the web to my article in the New York Times Magazine on character education at KIPP and Riverdale Country School. The magazine published a few letters to the editor here. On this blog, part of the Times’s Learning Network, 536 high-school students weighed in with their comments. And on the Classroom as Microcosm blog, a writing teacher in Montreal known, pseudonymously, as Siobhan Curious writes that the article gave her some ideas about how to better instruct failure-averse students in her class:
According to Tough and some of his subjects, the key ingredient is grit, the ability to persist in the face of obstacles and even failure.
GRIT! I thought. This is what I’ve been saying all along! If I can face down my limitations, if I can labour to be, not perfect, but better – I will be … happy? Is grit something we can learn? If so, how can we teach it? …
Teaching them how to write a commentary is all very well, but what is it for? Maybe the main thing is for is to help them practice grit: Yes, it’s hard. Just keep going. If you fail, fail as well as you can, and then try again.
We need to spend less time talking about literary techniques and more time talking about grit.
Curious’s blog post has so far collected 219 comments.
Some more blog reaction to my article on character education in the New York Times Magazine, from Mothering 21 (a blog for parents of adult children who aren’t quite sure if they’re adults or children), Early Ed Watch, and the Evil HR Lady, who writes:
Lots of people live charmed lives as long as their parents are pulling the strings or they put themselves in places where success is almost guaranteed. Except that anyone in the working world today knows that failure is not only a possibility it’s a high probability. Businesses fail. Entire divisions get laid off, regardless of how brilliant any individual employee was. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what the problem in the darn code is. If you’re a one try and you’re finished type of person, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, you won’t succeed.
There’s been a lot of interesting commentary, from a variety of sources, on my article for the New York Times Magazine on character education, which draws on some of the reporting that I’ve been doing for my next book, “The Success Equation.” On the Times’s Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin published a guest commentary on the article from a mother named Melissa Sher, who writes,
Life can be more than messy: bad things happen. But our job as parents isn’t to stop them all from happening. Because we can’t. Instead, we can try to make our kids feel loved, valued and secure. So, if we’re lucky, when our children do fall or if things fall apart around them, they’ll get back up.
Evan Osnos, on his “Letter from China” blog on the New Yorker’s site, wrote about how an article like mine might go over in China today:
It will be years before any Chinese magazine sells a story like that on its cover, but achievement, classically defined, has lost some luster.
On the Atlantic’s site, Edward Tenner, an historian, relates the character push by KIPP and Riverdale to similiar discussions of character in the 19th and 20th centuries. He concludes,
It may be that today’s successful city people — the parents of day school students — are likely to have parents or grandparents who did defy adversity, overcoming failure. Many of them sacrificed precisely so that their grandchildren wouldn’t have to. Private school costs may be stratospheric, but if you have to ask the price of some forms of resilience, you can’t afford them.
In the Financial Times, Luke Johnson took a business approach, asserting that the values that KIPP and Riverdale are trying to instill “could equally be the defining criteria for entrepreneurs.”
And on the National Review’s domestic-policy blog, Reihan Salam wrote about the passage in my article when KIPP teacher Sayuri Stabrowski turns a gum-chewing dispute with a student into a deeper discussion about character. Salam writes:
For some reason I found this very moving. It is easy for any of us to feel powerless in the face of trying circumstances, and this is particularly true of adolescents. Yet this student is being taught, in a fairly unsentimental, straightforward way, that she has the capacity for self-control, and that she has an obligation, to her fellow students, her teacher, and to herself, to exercise it.
Online, there is some new commentary on “The Poverty Clinic,” my article on Nadine Burke and the Adverse Childhood Experiences study that the New Yorker published in March.
Here’s a column by Richard Gilliam, a current prison inmate, published on KALW radio’s criminal-justice blog. On Chicago Magazine’s blog, Whet Moser reflected on how the ACE research connects to Alex Kotlowitz’s reporting on Ceasefire, an anti-violence group in Chicago. (Alex is second from the right, above.) And on the Huffington Post, John Thompson wrote that my article articulated “a theory of everything that starts with the neurochemical imbalances created by childhood trauma.”
I’m hard at work on “The Success Equation,” my second book, which will be published next year. So I’m behind on my blog updates (and everything else). Some belated news from July: I published an essay in the New York Times Magazine about the current state of the education reform movement titled “No, Seriously: No Excuses.” I also wrote this post for the magazine’s blog.
Education reform shouldn’t be an “either/or” debate, but more about “and.” Kids–especially poor kids–need far more academic, vocational, social, and psychological interventions, provided by well-trained adults and institutions.
I also did an hour-long interview with Kathleen Dunn (and several callers) on Wisconsin Public Radio. Audio is here.
1. Here’s a review of “Whatever It Takes” by Jennifer L. Steele, published in the Harvard Educational Review back in the fall of 2009, but only now available online. Steele writes:
Whatever It Takes is that rarest of phenomena—an education book that can be described as a page-turner.
2. Glen Pinder and Chris Finn, the stars of chapter 7 of “Whatever It Takes,” have left the Promise Academy middle school, where they were principal and dean, respectively, and are now working together again at Lady Liberty Academy Charter School in Newark, N.J. According to this article in Local Talk News, “Pinder was recruited by the Newark Charter School Fund and Newark Mayor Cory Booker to help turn around the struggling school.”
3. A recent post on Search Marketing Daily’s SearchBlog profiled Frank Lee, a search engine optimization pro who just took a job as head of sales and marketing at an SEO firm called DataPop. The post included this unexpected tidbit:
When asked which book he is reading to prepare for his new role, Lee responded: “Whatever It Takes” by Paul Tough, a tale about driving change.
There are a few new interesting blog posts about “The Poverty Clinic,” my profile in the New Yorker of the pediatrician Nadine Burke.
On WellCommons, a community health website in Lawrence, Kansas, the article was discussed as part of an intriguing and ambitious effort to infuse the local healthcare and social-service systems with a new awareness of the potential impact of adverse childhood experiences.
Sometimes, I think that we, in the helping sectors, focus too much on the symptoms in our particular scope. Not enough on the community around us. I think there’s a lot we can learn from the way Nadine Burke is approaching her practice. I’m just not entirely sure what it is yet.
On the National Resources Defense Council staff blog, Marissa Ramirez writes about the connections between molecular biology and sustainable communities discussed in my article, and about her own transition from biology researcher to environmental advocate:
You may wonder what a former lab-coat wearing molecular biologist is doing advocating for sustainable communities at a leading environmental organization. It turns out she is fostering healthy neuromuscular junctions and optimal epigenetics — one sustainable neighborhood at a time.
And on Crosscut, a Seattle news website, a former teacher and school leader named Judy Lightfoot uses the article to argue against cuts to mental-health services for adolescents in and around Seattle:
Improving the behavior of the parent or caregiver of children in high-risk situations actually changes their physical chemistry, according to the studies Tough cites, leading to fewer behavior problems and greater success in school, as well as measurably better health outcomes as years pass. So it’s distressing to lose [mental health] programs that would have steered children of drug users away from drugs and helped chemically dependent adults be better parents