Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Minnesota’

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

Promise Neighborhood Grants

Last week, the Department of Education announced a new round of Promise Neighborhood funding, including some new planning grants as well as the first implementation grants. The New America Foundation’s Early Ed Watch has all the background. The implementation grants went to organizations in Buffalo; Hayward, California; San Antonio, rural Kentucky, and Minneapolis. (Sondra Samuels, the C.E.O. of the Northside Achievement Zone, the Minneapolis group that was awarded an implementation grant, is pictured above.)

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Talking about Character

Two recent broadcast/podcast interviews about my article in the New York Times Magazine on character education at KIPP and Riverdale. On the American RadioWorks weekly podcast about education, I talked about the article with Stephen Smith, the host of the podcast. Audio here.

And on Minnesota Public Radio’s morning show, David Levin of KIPP and author David Shenk discussed the article and KIPP’s approach to character. Audio here.

Saturday, July 2nd, 2011

Promise Neighborhood Updates

1. In Winston-Salem, N.C., more than 25 non-profit agencies have come together to form the Promise Neighborhood Community Collaborative in order to create a Promise Neighborhood in the Ibraham school district. According to this article in Yes! Weekly, “Whatever It Takes” helped inspire the project:

Lee Koch, principal of Prince Ibraham Elementary School, said it was Tough’s book that first inspired community leaders in Winston-Salem to look into the possibility of identifying one neighborhood as a potential Promise Neighborhood.

2. In Kinston, N.C., community leaders have joined forces with faculty and graduate students from the University of North Carolina’s Community-Campus Partnership to create the Kinston Promise Neighborhood. According to this article in ENC Today, the neighborhood will cover 81 blocks in the city’s East Kinston and Mitchelltown neighborhoods.

3. In Athens, Georgia, the Whatever It Takes initiative (which I visited last December) presented their initial plans for the Athens Promise Neighborhood to community members in May. Details here.

4. And in June, a reporter for Minnesota Public Radio filed this report on the 250-block St. Paul Promise Neighborhood, which “hopes to counteract the effects of poverty on children by creating a network of so-called ‘cradle-to-career’ services.”

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood News

More news stories about communities around the country using the example of the Harlem Children’s Zone to develop new strategies to help poor children succeed. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an article about a new nonprofit working to rebuild that city’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. From North Minneapolis comes news about the Northside Achievement Zone. There are two big initiatives in New Jersey, one in Newark, and one in Camden.

And from Athens, Georgia, a report on the Whatever It Takes initiative:

The name “Whatever It Takes” was taken from the title of a book by Paul Tough, an account of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a large-scale social service project that inundates children in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood with educational and health services aimed at turning them into college graduates. Following the Obama Administration’s announcement of the Promise Neighborhood grant in April, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the program would be based in part on the Harlem Children’s Zone model. Even so, Earnest and Johnson say that WIT is not intended to be a replication of that project.

Here’s a video from Athens, introduced by Michael Stipe:

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Promise Neighborhoods Roundup

June 30 was the deadline for groups applying for Promise Neighborhood planning grants, and according to this story in Youth Today, the department of education received 339 separate applications for the 20 grants. The department’s web site posted an interactive map showing where the applications came from. NPR did a story. And the Nonprofit Quarterly had some predictions:

Who is likely to get the Promise Neighborhoods designations? Potential applicants are sorting through their competitive advantages and disadvantages. Those with histories of foundation support and backing have something of a leg up in generating matching dollars, such as the Highline School District in and around Seattle, which boasts a decade of involvement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections project. An impending Los Angeles County application boasts the involvement of a funders consortium including the California Endowment and the Annenberg Foundation. For the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, long the focus of planning efforts over the years, the presence of Yale as a neighbor constitutes a level of institutional and technical credibility.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of local coverage of specific applicants, including stories, editorials, and letters from Charleston, South Carolina; Rochester, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Norwich, Connecticut; Athens, Georgia; Las Vegas; northeast Ohio; and a Native American community in rural Colorado.

Thursday, November 19th, 2009

Promise Neighborhood News

Newspapers around the country are reporting on local efforts to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone and to take advantage of the Obama administration’s Promise Neighborhood initiative. Here are stories from Minneapolis, Kansas City, Jacksonville and Austin, where the Austin American-Statesman reports:

By addressing the challenges associated with living in poverty, Austin organizers hope to provide students with basic services — from ensuring that mothers get prenatal care to tutoring schoolchildren — ultimately improving academic performance at chronically struggling campuses. Organizers said they envision being heavily involved in the lives of as many as 1,500 children in such a zone.

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

Minneapolis City Pages

This week’s issue of the Minneapolis City Pages has a preview of my reading and talk this Sunday at Magers and Quinn Booksellers:

The book tracks [Geoffrey] Canada’s own tale of escaping the ghetto and attending Harvard, but the real story is his willingness to try anything to change the prospects of Harlem’s kids. His greatest achievement turns out to be the Harlem Children’s Zone, an area of central Harlem where programs educate youth and their parents, as well as prepare kids to compete for education and work opportunities. Tough will discuss his book, which notes the simple things Canada has done (encouraging mothers to read to their kids at an early age) and the more epic accomplishments (opening a school, maintaining long-term success). It is one hell of a story.

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Minneapolis reading and talk

On Sunday, October 18, at 5 p.m,  I’ll be reading and speaking and answering questions at Magers and Quinn Booksellers, a Minneapolis bookstore located at 3038 Hennepin Avenue South.

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The Northside Achievement Zone

More impact from Geoffrey Canada’s recent speech in Minneapolis: The Twin Cities Daily Planet reports that on Saturday, a coalition of local groups announced the launch of the Northside Achievement Zone, inspired by the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone.

The Daily Planet article also points out some differences between the HCZ and the NAZ:

The Harlem Children’s Zone built new programs, beginning with its Baby College™ for parents, all-day intensive preschool, charter schools, and much more. The Harlem Children’s Zone also spent nearly $40 million on its programs in 2006, according to its federal Form 990 return. So far, NAZ’s plans are more directed toward coordinating and communicating about already-existing programs offered by organizations already in the area, rather than on new resources or programs.

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Geoffrey Canada in Minneapolis

On Wednesday, Geoffrey Canada spoke to a crowd of 1,000 in Minneapolis about his work in Harlem. quoted Canada’s speech:

“This is the floor — not the ceiling — of what American kids should get,” Canada said. “Our concept is of a seamless web of supports around young people that goes with them throughout their developmental stages.

“What people mostly have done is create great early-childhood programs, and they don’t do anything after.  Or a great after-school program for elementary schools and then they go to lousy middle schools and there’s nothing in the high schools. You’ve got to connect these supports so you can leverage one investment into the next investment. … It takes time. It’s not going to happen in a year or two.”

And Joe Nathan, the director of the Center for School Change at the University of Minnesota, asks:

What drew a sustained standing ovation from more 1,000 Minnesotans last week? It was the remarkable efforts of Geoffrey Canada in the Harlem section of New York – and his skilled combination of research-based ideas for improving public education.

Canada has achieved considerable success in Harlem by using suggestions from both major philosophies about ways to significantly improve public education.