Posts Tagged ‘Arkansas’
Promise Neighborhood updates
“Over the coming weeks and months, we will work with Geoffrey and the Harlem Children’s Zone to put in place a program in Paterson that will emulate the success of Harlem Children’s Zone and give the children of Paterson a renewed sense of hope and opportunity.”
In a blog post on the Wall Street Journal’s web site, one expert was quoted sounding a skeptical note about the Paterson replication:
“We have an absolutely brutal track record of trying to replicate these things,” said Rick Hess, director of education policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. Hess said Canada’s personal ties allowed him to take advantage of existing social programs, tie them together and raise money. … “There’s no harm in trying, but I think much more skepticism is necessary than has been the case,” he said of New Jersey’s new effort in Paterson.
More cause for concern about the future of Promise Neighborhoods came in this article in the Washington Post, in which Jim Shelton, the education department official (and former Gates Foundation executive) overseeing the Promise Neighborhood program, commented on the administration’s request to Congress for $210 million for this coming fiscal year, which had been reduced last year to $60 million by a House subcommittee and then to $20 million by a Senate subcommittee. (I wrote an op-ed in the New York Times last summer about the proposed cuts.) At the time, administration officials I spoke to sounded optimistic that much if not all of the funding would be restored, but in the Post article, Shelton
said that this year the administration probably will have only an additional $10 million for the Promise Neighborhood program and will request more money for the program again in 2012. “At a minimum, we could have a small-scale implementation, not nearly what we had anticipated,” Shelton said.
Recent blog posts on “Whatever It Takes” from a reference librarian in Perrysburg, Ohio; a student at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock; a Microsoft executive in Seattle; and an early-childhood specialist in Chicago, who posted her reflections on the panel discussion I was a part of at Loyola University Law School in February:
I also think that there are many, many people in non-profits who are tired of business-as-usual, tired of feeling like their work is a drop in the ocean, tired of talking themselves into believing in what they do every day. Some of those people must have been in the audience that night, looking for a thicker strand of hope to pull on.
From what I’ve read, hope is much of what Geoffrey Canada’s concept is riding on now: hope with an almost desperate promise of metrics, if we could all be patient for a while. And many of us are willing to be patient, because we believe as we have believed for years, that he’s making it happen – he’s doing it. He’s doing what we thought should be done all along: comprehensive services, for all stages of childhood, supportive of the family and community as well as the child. This is the silent promise we’ve been imagining, and Canada actually managed to speak the promise out loud.