Posts Tagged ‘HCZ’
In his candid book about Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone, Paul Tough follows several families through the first years of school, inviting us to take a hard and honest look at the work, the hope and the possibility of change for at-risk youth and families.
It was this book, “Whatever It Takes,” that inspired Durham County Commissioner Ellen Reckhow to pull together groups of community stakeholders, agencies and advocates to do whatever it takes in East Durham, through the East Durham Children’s Initiative (EDCI).
And in the Herald-Sun, an editorial on the same topic:
The members of the steering committee, including county Commissioner Ellen Reckhow and Durham Public Schools Chairwoman Minnie Forte-Brown, talk about the Harlem Children’s Zone’s success with missionary zeal — which they credit in part to “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America,” by Paul Tough.
Tough, a New York Times Magazine editor, drew a fine, nuanced portrait of Canada and the families that the HCZ serves, illuminating the effects of poverty and the challenges of extracting an entire city district from its grasp.
I think my one worry about the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone is people are going to think it is easy. They look at how the Harlem Children’s Zone is now, and don’t see all of the hard work, wrong turns, and dismal failures that went into making it the success that it is today. What I think any community will need if they are going to try to do this is persistence, dedication, faith, a long term vision, and a sense that they are going to do whatever it takes.
Gotham Schools reports that the Harlem Children’s Zone is in talks with the New York City Housing Authority to construct a new school building in the St. Nicholas housing project. The Promise Academy would expand into the new building:
HCZ and NYCHA officials are pitching the new building as a continuation of the Zone’s mission to integrate education and social services and connect an isolated housing development to the wider community. Residents of the Saint Nicholas Houses would also receive an admissions preference to the school, and officials said that residents would also receive a preference for an anticipated 100 jobs created by the new school.
From this morning’s Times-Union, a story about the first graduating class of the Baby Institute, a new program run by the Albany Family Education Alliance and modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Baby College:
The mothers and fathers who received their diplomas at Giffen Elementary School in the city’s South End ran the gamut of race, age and education. They were all recruited from agencies that serve the poorest neighborhoods of the city. Some mothers have one or two children, others recently gave birth, and others are pregnant with their first child.
The idea is to provide parents “with the tools and techniques to become the first teachers of their children,” said Common Council member Barbara Smith, an alliance member who helped spearhead the baby program. She attended every session at the school, which ran from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays. The participants had to have children no older than 3.
According to a report in the Guardian, the Harlem Children’s Zone has become an issue in the British election, with both the Conservative and Labour candidate claiming a connection:
Geoffrey Canada, the founder of the Harlem Children’s Zone, helped inform the Tories’ education policy. Canada has, according to the Tories, eradicated the educational attainment gap between ethnic groups so that all but a handful of school leavers go to college. Labour has also turned to Harlem for its idea of one-to-one tuition. But the Conservatives say that they embody the Harlem ideas because they will allow parents and groups to set up schools along the lines of US charter schools.
From the Savannah Morning News, a report on Mayor Otis Johnson’s effort to construct a “cradle-to-college” youth program in Savannah:
The effort, lead by Youth Futures and the mayor, has been the subject of planning sessions by local groups and agency leaders for a year. The unnamed local program, patterned after the successful Harlem Children’s Zone, has identified the local Rotary clubs for the first piece of 6 months to kindergarten and is seeking community help to complete the process.
Planners have pledged to pursue the effort locally with or without the Promise Neighborhood designation.
“We are not trying to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone here in Savannah, only the success,’’ Chisolm said.
From two very different publications, articles about the Harlem Children’s Zone and the prospect of Promise Neighborhoods. In Real Change News, a weekly paper sold by the homeless in Seattle, an interview with Geoffrey Canada, in which he recounts the advice he has given the Obama Administration about Promise Neighborhoods:
We felt like they had to go with the right leadership. They had to get communities that were already down the road on figuring out their area and working out the collaboration issues. There had to be some structure for management in place, and there had to be resources so that it wouldn’t be under resourced, and a real commitment of local leadership — for the vision of the community and not for the individual schools. We thought those were some of the must-haves in the first few of these that have come up. So we’ve had those kinds of conversations with the administration.
And in Forbes, Nicole Perlroth cautions:
Any school rescue program that relies less on donations and more on taxpayer money is at risk of becoming a captive of the education establishment. A two-year project to replicate the Zone in Jacksonville, Fla. saw its largest private donor, the Chartrand Foundation, back out when it appeared that the program would be run by government officials and lack the Zone’s accountability.
The forum, which included a keynote address by author and former New York Times magazine editor Paul Tough (pictured left), explored the The Harlem Children’s Zone approach to inner city education, as well as addressed the recent plans by the Obama administration to offer new funding to replicate twenty “Promise Neighborhoods” throughout the country. …
Tough and the panel of Chicago experts discussed the potential impact of a Promise Neighborhood in Chicago, how to improve on the HCZ model, as well as addressed issues that distinguish Chicago from Harlem and other communities seeking to create a “Children’s Zone.” Expert panelists included Loyola law alumnus Azim Ramelize, Chicago Dept. of Children and Youth Services; Chris Brown, Local Initiatives Support Corporation; Dr. Bradley Stolbach, La Rabida Children’s Hospital; and Barbara Bowman, Chief Officer, Early Education, Chicago Public Schools.
Rob Wildeboer, a criminal-justice reporter for WBEZ radio in Chicago, hosted the panel discussion that followed my speech at Loyola University Law School last week. Before the event, Rob and I sat down in the WBEZ studio for an interview about the Harlem Children’s Zone and Promise Neighborhoods. The interview aired on Friday as part of the local “All Things Considered” broadcast. Here’s the audio.