Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Missouri’

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.

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

Kansas City’s Zone Two-7

Kansas City’s mayor, police chief and schools superintendent joined forces, in an opinion article in the Kansas City Star, to announce a new zone in the city designed to emulate the Harlem Children’s Zone:

Kansas City’s Zone Two-7: Anchor of Hope is named for its concentration on the 64127 ZIP Code. The area was selected for myriad reasons. The most important is that the children and their families need high levels of support. Our efforts received good news recently when we learned that the federal funding for these types of projects, called Promise Neighborhoods, passed the U.S. Senate in an omnibus spending bill. Our team will now concentrate on applying for and winning a portion of this federal grant money.

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.

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Midwestern Newspaper Roundup

The Springfield, Ohio, News-Sun has this article about my trip there this week:

Paul Tough, New York Times Magazine editor, will address the issues of poverty, education and the achievement gap, during a special presentation, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 28 at Springfield High School. Sponsored in part by Wittenberg University’s Institute for Education Innovation, the event will include the results of Tough’s research into Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone project.

(There’s more information here about my upcoming talk.)

In the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Aisha Sultan devotes this week’s column to “Whatever It Takes” and the Harlem Children’s Zone.

And the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reviews (briefly) the paperback edition of “Whatever It Takes.”

Monday, October 12th, 2009

KWMU Radio

I spent an hour this morning on “St. Louis on Air,” on KWMU Radio, speaking with the host, Don Marsh, and taking calls from listeners about Whatever It Takes. You can stream the audio here. Or download it here.

I’m in St. Louis for the reading tonight at Left Bank Books, at 7 p.m.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

Reading in St. Louis

On October 12, at 7 p.m., I’ll be reading from the new paperback edition of Whatever It Takes at Left Bank Books in St. Louis.

Thursday, July 23rd, 2009

A Kansas City Children’s Zone?

The Kansas City Star published an editorial today arguing that Kansas City should pursue a Promise Neighborhood:

Started in the 1990s with a single block in one of New York City’s toughest neighborhoods, the Harlem Children’s Zone offers extensive services and educational opportunities to children and their families. It has grown to encompass nearly 100 blocks and serves thousands of children and adults. …

Mayor Mark Funkhouser said he is determined to bring the program to Kansas City. He deserves support in that endeavor. Improving public education in Kansas City, especially in the urban core, could help redefine the city.

Friday, July 17th, 2009

Canada in Kansas City

Last week, Geoffrey Canada spoke to the Legislative Black Caucus Foundation in Kansas City, Missouri. According to a report in the Kansas City Star:

One of the nation’s most dynamic evangelists for urban education came to Kansas City today to describe how impoverished neighborhoods here can replicate the success he’s had in Harlem.

Geoffrey Canada, founder and director of the nationally recognized Harlem Children’s Zone, told a packed audience in a downtown Marriott ballroom that America has to stop turning its back on children in poor communities.