Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘magazines’

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

More on the New Yorker story

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.”

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

No Excuses essay

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.

The essay provoked some commentary online, including a column in the Kalamazoo Gazette, a post on the Mother Jones website, and this post by Dana Goldstein, who wrote:

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.

Whitney Tilson, the reform advocate, wrote that I misrepresented reformers, and published some email messages that he sent me. (He also published my response.)

I also did an hour-long interview with Kathleen Dunn (and several callers) on Wisconsin Public Radio. Audio is here.

Monday, May 9th, 2011

More “Poverty Clinic” reactions

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.

In San Francisco, Marnie Webb, the co-CEO of an organization called TechSoup Global that helps non-profits use technology better, wrote about the article on her blog, concluding:

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

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

More New Yorker reaction

Harvard Magazine has a news brief about my article on Nadine Burke, who attended public-health school at Harvard.

And on Twitter, some supportive words about the article from two writers I respect a great deal: Atul Gawande and Sara Corbett.

Meanwhile, I am tweeting, sporadically, here. Come follow me!

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

New Yorker story (and radio interview)

Last week I had a story in the New Yorker about Nadine Burke, a pediatrician in San Francisco, and the work she is doing to develop a clinical treatment protocol  from the emerging research about childhood trauma and its longterm effects. My reporting about Dr. Burke will become part of my new book, “The Success Equation,” which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish next year.

The New Yorker story got me booked on “RadioWest,” an hourlong public-affairs show on KUER in Salt Lake City. The host, Doug Fabrizio, asked some great questions, as did the many callers, from Utah and around the country (the show is also broadcast nationwide on Sirius XM). There’s now audio of the whole hour available here.

The article also played a part in this fascinating blog post from Whet Moser, on, which manages to tie together my reporting on Dr. Burke with Alex Kotlowitz’s great reporting in the New York Times Magazine on the Ceasefire initiative in Chicago, as well as a handful of other news reports and scientific studies. It’s well worth reading to get some broader context on the question of childhood trauma.

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

Promise Neighborhood updates

There’s news from all over this month about efforts to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone. In Arkansas, the Central Little Rock Promise Neighborhood was one of 21 groups to receive a planning grant from the federal department of education. Julie Hall, one of the organizers, talked about her group’s plans on KTHV (video above). Meanwhile, the Chronicle of Philanthropy profiled another grant recipient, organized around the Cesar Chavez charter school in Washington, D.C., and the Philadelphia Inquirer reported on a local organization that received a planning grant: Universal Companies, run by musician Kenny Gamble. (The Inquirer story led to this heated exchange of posts on Philadelphia Magazine’s Philly Post blog.)

There was also news recently about replication projects that didn’t win one of the 21 planning grants, like a project by the United Way of Lane County, Oregon, to start two pilot Promise Neighborhoods, and a coalition in St. Louis that is trying to bring a Zone to North St. Louis. And then there’s the initiative in Paterson, New Jersey, which is working directly with the Harlem Children’s Zone. As Governor Christie put it at an announcement with Geoffrey Canada in Trenton on Jan. 19:
“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.

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood Update

In the Nonprofit Quarterly, an article about the aftermath of the announcement in September of the Promise Neighborhood planning grants. The author, Rick Cohen, writes:

Promise Neighborhoods program winners are counting their planning funds and hoping that there will be implementation funds to carry out their plans. Also-rans are staying geared up so that they will be able to compete for implementation funds despite having been bypassed for planning money.

Meanwhile, in the Springfield News-Sun, a report on how the local Promise Neighborhood initiative in Springfield, Ohio, which did not win a planning grant, is continuing its efforts. According to the local schools superintendent, David Estrop:

“I think it was very clear in our discussions as a group from the very beginning that we thought what we were planning and hoping to do at Lincoln (Elementary School), we would do with or without the federal grant and it was because we thought, very simply … it was such critical and important work.”

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Bill Gates Q&A

Last weekend, Parade magazine ran a Q&A that I did with Bill Gates in September on teaching, schools, and “Waiting for Superman.” This week in the magazine, there’s a response from the president of the National Education Association.