Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

USA Today

Here’s a Q&A from today’s USA Today, on Geoffrey Canada, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and Whatever It Takes.

Q: The book is as much a primer on poverty as it is a book about education. What’s the most important insight you took away?

A: Poor children turn into poor adults for one simple reason: They lack the skills and the knowledge to compete at a high level. It’s not about a lack of will or native ability, it’s not about a lack of opportunity, it’s about a lack of training. Because of a variety of problems in their homes and their schools and their communities, disadvantaged children never get a chance to learn the skills they need to succeed. The good news is that if you find a way to teach them those skills — and that’s entirely possible, though it takes an innovative approach and a lot of hard work — they’re going to have a much better shot at a successful life.

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