Posts Tagged ‘New Jersey’
1. Here’s a review of “Whatever It Takes” by Jennifer L. Steele, published in the Harvard Educational Review back in the fall of 2009, but only now available online. Steele writes:
Whatever It Takes is that rarest of phenomena—an education book that can be described as a page-turner.
2. Glen Pinder and Chris Finn, the stars of chapter 7 of “Whatever It Takes,” have left the Promise Academy middle school, where they were principal and dean, respectively, and are now working together again at Lady Liberty Academy Charter School in Newark, N.J. According to this article in Local Talk News, “Pinder was recruited by the Newark Charter School Fund and Newark Mayor Cory Booker to help turn around the struggling school.”
3. A recent post on Search Marketing Daily’s SearchBlog profiled Frank Lee, a search engine optimization pro who just took a job as head of sales and marketing at an SEO firm called DataPop. The post included this unexpected tidbit:
When asked which book he is reading to prepare for his new role, Lee responded: “Whatever It Takes” by Paul Tough, a tale about driving change.
“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.
From the Mail Tribune of southern Oregon, a report on an attempt to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in Medford:
With the help of federal dollars and strong community partners, a four-block area surrounding the Family Nurturing Center could be developed so that it provides children of struggling families a multifaceted support system that would start with prenatal care and continue throughout the life of the child, said Mary-Curtis Gramley, president of the nonprofit center.
“Our wish is to provide support from cradle to college,” she said. “The goal is to make a thread that is woven throughout (a child’s) growing experience.”
And in the Times of Trenton, an editorial on a recent trip to Harlem by a state assemblywoman:
Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman recently led a delegation of educational leaders and advocates from Trenton on a visit to New York to get a first-hand look at the program that encompasses 8,800 Harlem children — 1,400 in two charter schools and the others in traditional public schools. …Coleman said Canada has done “remarkable work” and now hopes to “find ways to replicate his dynamic efforts in communities in our state that confront some of the same challenges that exist in Harlem.”
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.
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:
In today’s Newark Star-Ledger, an article about the new initiative to build neighborhood zones based on the Harlem Children’s Zone in both Newark and Camden, New Jersey. According to the article, the plan is intended to take advantage of President Obama’s proposed Promise Neighborhoods program:
State leaders hope the plans will give New Jersey a leg up on the competition for the Promised Neighborhoods Initiative, an Obama administration proposal that requested $10 million to duplicate the Harlem project in 20 cities nationwide.
“This is a holistic approach to how we should deal with education,” Gov. Jon Corzine said at the conference. “We want to make sure Newark and Camden receive those (federal) resources.”
Congress has yet to approve the funds, but Canada said he expects it will be allotted and the administration will start the selection process in a few weeks.