Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘HCZ’

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

Obama/Poverty Reaction

Some reactions to my article in the Times Magazine on President Obama, Roseland, and poverty:

1. Whet Moser at 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.

Sunday, March 18th, 2012

Three Things

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?”

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Speech in Oregon

On October 25, I’ll be giving the keynote address at the Fostering Hope/Closing the Gap Summit in Salem, Oregon, organized by the Catholic Community Services organization in the region. The summit is part of a new project called the Fostering Hope Initiative, designed to strengthen families and protect children. A reporter for the Statesman-Journal wrote about the initiative here, and included some comments from me about the Harlem Children Zone model.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

New space for Promise Academy

Construction is underway on a $100 million building in the center of the St. Nicholas housing project in central Harlem that will house the Promise Academy charter school as well as a health clinic, a community center, and other programs run by the Harlem Children’s Zone. In an article in the New York Post, Geoffrey Canada described his ambition for the new building:

“It would be wrong to consider it just a school. Our mission is much larger. We’re trying to give all the support our kids are going to need in one place. That’s what makes it unique.”

An article in the Epoch Times goes into more detail about the project’s funding, which includes $60 million from the city’s department of education, $20 million from Goldman Sachs, and $6 million from Google.

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Another Prince Donation

This week, Prince, the musician, gave $250,000 to the Eau Claire Promise Zone, a group that is trying to emulate the Harlem Children’s Zone in the Eau Claire neighborhood of Columbia, South Carolina. (Its board includes Geoffrey Canada’s brother Daniel.) Prince’s new donation is in addition to the $1 million that he gave to the Harlem Children’s Zone in February.

It is worth noting that Prince’s total contributions to HCZ-like endeavors now stand at $1.25 million, compared to the $10 million that the federal government has spent on Promise Neighborhoods so far.

If you’re moved to compare the two investments, there are two important metrics to keep in mind. The first is raw dollars, and by that measure, the federal government is clearly ahead, having thus far spent eight times as much as Prince. But if you compare promises to follow-through, the story looks different: President Obama promised in 2007 to spend “a few billion dollars a year” on HCZ replications. Which means Obama’s administration is currently spending about 0.2 percent of what he said was the minimum necessary to make the program work. (“I’ll be honest; it can’t be done on the cheap,” he said in the 2007 speech. “But we will find the money to do this, because we can’t afford not to.”)

Prince didn’t promise anything. Which makes his donations look all the more generous, by contrast.

Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011

Two blog posts

Two blog posts today that connect my New Yorker article with “Whatever It Takes.” One is from John Thompson, a historian, who writes on Huffington Post:

I am hoping that Paul Tough will be the education writer who frees us to engage in frank discussions of the effects of intense concentrations of generational poverty on schools. In his “Whatever It Takes,” Tough told the story of Geoffrey Canada who “believed that he could find the ideal intervention for each age of a child’s life, and then connect those interventions into an unbroken chain of support.” … Tough has done it again in “The Poverty Clinic,” articulating a theory of everything that starts with the neurochemical imbalances created by childhood trauma.

And on his New Republic blog, Jonathan Chait writes,

“Whatever It Takes” explores the Harlem Children’s Zone, which is an ambitious attempt to remake social services by tying together all the social services — education, medicine, parental training, prenatal care. The thesis, in other words, is that all these social ailments are related to each other, and the correct approach of social policy is to address them in tandem. His New Yorker story essentially traces this thesis back to bio-chemical roots, but Tough is really capturing some cutting-edge concepts in social science. The story is also a gripping read, so don’t miss it.

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011

The News from Kenilworth-Parkside

There was news about the D.C. Promise Neighborhood initiative in two Washington newspapers last week. The Washington City Paper reported on the groundbreaking for a new early-childhood center in the Kenilworth-Parkside neighborhood in D.C.’s Ward 7, adding,

the Educare building, as it’s known, is much more than a school. It’s also the first piece of a federally-funded plan to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Manhattan, using a model of integrated educational and social services to transform a kid’s whole environment, not just the time they spend in a classroom.

The Washington Post added that the effort was

spearheaded by Irasema Salcido, the charismatic educator who founded the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy in the community, but its unusual strength lies in the 70 nonprofits, businesses, churches, foundations and resident associations that have signed on. In a refreshing partnership, two traditional public schools, Kenilworth and Neval Thomas elementary schools, have joined the coalition with their charter neighbor.

Next week, I’ll be visiting the Cesar Chavez schools and giving a speech at Georgetown University about character development and student achievement — and how those topics relate to the Promise Neighborhood initiative.

Wednesday, February 9th, 2011

Prince 2 Donate $1M

On Monday, at a press conference at Madison Square Garden, Prince announced a donation of $1 million to the Harlem Children’s Zone. According to an article in Jones Magazine:

During the press conference, 30 students from the Harlem Children’s Zone got the chance to meet the musical icon. You could see how inspired and touched they were by Prince’s dedication to the youth, his unparalleled musical success and his generosity. Harlem Children’s Zone President and CEO Geoffrey Canada had this to say about the donation: “I want to thank Prince. I am touched and blown away by his generosity. This is unprecedented in my lifetime to see an artist come forward and invest in today’s children.”

Friday, January 28th, 2011

TFA Summit

On Saturday, Feb. 12, I’ll be at the Teach For America 20th anniversary summit in Washington, D.C., moderating a panel on interventions to close the achievement gap that go beyond the classroom. Joining me will be Larkin Tackett, who is helping to oversee the Promise Neighborhood program for the department of education; Debbie Gonzalez, the senior manager of preventive programs for the Harlem Children’s Zone; Diana Rauner, the president of the Ounce of Prevention Fund; David Williams, the Chicago regional director for Youth Advocate Programs, Inc.; and Irasema Salcido, the founder and CEO of Cesar Chavez Public Charter School in Washington, D.C.

Here’s how the conference web site describes what we’ll be talking about:

Everyone agrees that education plays a critical role in eradicating poverty, but is it enough? How critical are other poverty-focused interventions to improving student outcomes? In this panel, practitioners will discuss which services have the greatest impact on poverty in their communities and what they’re doing to address the needs of low-income children and families.

Friday, January 28th, 2011

Geoffrey Canada’s travels

Geoffrey Canada has been on the road more than usual this month, giving public talks to a variety of school and community groups. He spoke at the University of Dayton in Ohio where, according to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, a local initiative called Taking Off to Success is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Baby College. He also spoke at a Martin Luther King Day celebration at Wesleyan University and to a group in Columbia, South Carolina, that is trying to establish what they’re calling a Promise Zone, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, in the city’s Eau Claire neighborhood. (According to an article in the State, Geoffrey Canada’s older brother, Dan, a Columbia resident, is on the board of the Eau Claire zone.)

Next month, Canada will speak in Haverford, Pennsylvania. In March, it’s Saginaw, Michigan. In April, York, Pennsylvania.