Posts Tagged ‘newspapers’
The News from Kenilworth-Parkside
There was news about the D.C. Promise Neighborhood initiative in two Washington newspapers last week. The Washington City Paper reported on the groundbreaking for a new early-childhood center in the Kenilworth-Parkside neighborhood in D.C.’s Ward 7, adding,
the Educare building, as it’s known, is much more than a school. It’s also the first piece of a federally-funded plan to replicate the success of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Manhattan, using a model of integrated educational and social services to transform a kid’s whole environment, not just the time they spend in a classroom.
The Washington Post added that the effort was
spearheaded by Irasema Salcido, the charismatic educator who founded the Cesar Chavez Public Charter Schools for Public Policy in the community, but its unusual strength lies in the 70 nonprofits, businesses, churches, foundations and resident associations that have signed on. In a refreshing partnership, two traditional public schools, Kenilworth and Neval Thomas elementary schools, have joined the coalition with their charter neighbor.
Next week, I’ll be visiting the Cesar Chavez schools and giving a speech at Georgetown University about character development and student achievement — and how those topics relate to the Promise Neighborhood initiative.
Promise Neighborhood updates
“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.
Geoffrey Canada’s travels
Geoffrey Canada has been on the road more than usual this month, giving public talks to a variety of school and community groups. He spoke at the University of Dayton in Ohio where, according to a recent article in the Dayton Daily News, a local initiative called Taking Off to Success is modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone’s Baby College. He also spoke at a Martin Luther King Day celebration at Wesleyan University and to a group in Columbia, South Carolina, that is trying to establish what they’re calling a Promise Zone, modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone, in the city’s Eau Claire neighborhood. (According to an article in the State, Geoffrey Canada’s older brother, Dan, a Columbia resident, is on the board of the Eau Claire zone.)
Next month, Canada will speak in Haverford, Pennsylvania. In March, it’s Saginaw, Michigan. In April, York, Pennsylvania.
In Friday’s Athens Banner-Herald, a report on my talk there last week, and on Whatever It Takes, the local Promise Neighborhood initiative:
In the end, the success of Promise Neighborhoods will depend on how well individual communities like Athens implement the fundamentals of the Harlem Children’s Zone, he said.
“Whether these programs succeed or fail will not be decided in Washington D.C.,” Tough said. “It will be decided in communities like these. If we can use this moment to gather the right resources and people and spirit in places like Athens, I think we have a chance to make a real and lasting difference for the kids who need our help the most.”
Tomorrow in Athens
In the Athens Banner-Herald, a report on my visit to Athens tomorrow, which will include a talk at the University of Georgia chapel. The visit is being organized in part by Whatever It Takes, the local non-profit group that recently received a Promise Neighborhood planning grant:
“It’s so exciting,” said Ryan Lewis, communications director for Whatever It Takes. “Paul has been talking on an international level about what we’re trying to do here. … Because we’ve done such great work, we’re able to bring somebody like that to the community, and bring even more information and have a dialogue here.”
West Coast/East Coast
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.”
Canada in England
In the Independent of London, a profile of Geoffrey Canada, tied to the release of “Waiting for ‘Superman'” in the United Kingdom. The article (which refers to Canada as a “Harlem globetrotter”) includes this tidbit:
Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, has used Mr Canada’s achievements in Harlem, one of New York’s bleakest neighbourhoods, as a blueprint for the “free” schools initiative being launched in England next year. Mr Gove says of Mr Canada’s achievements: “Geoffrey Canada is a real life superhero. He has devoted his life to state education and to raising standards for the very poorest. His Harlem Children’s Zone is a radical experiment in changing the way children are brought up.”
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.”
As I mentioned last month, I’m going to be speaking in Athens, Georgia, on Thursday, Dec. 2. According to a new press release from the University of Georgia College of Education:
Tough’s knowledge of Canada’s work should be of great local interest. In recent months, a new local initiative patterned after Canada’s work called “Whatever It Takes” (www.witathens.org) was formed to address the poverty problem, by setting a goal that by July 1st, 2020 every child in Athens-Clarke County will be on track to graduate from some sort of post-secondary education.
There’s some anticipatory coverage of the talk in the Athens Banner-Herald. And on Beyond the Trestle, a local news and politics blog, there’s a pep talk from the good people at Avid Bookshop in Athens, who will be selling books at the event.
From the Nashville Scene, another thoughtful review of “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” this one with some intriguing academic footnotes:
In a broader sense, Waiting for “Superman” may contain the seeds of its own ineffectuality. Academics such as Louis Althusser, writing on Marxism in the 1970s, conceived of a critical theory of popular culture in which the ruling class, in order to stave off revolution, creates pop-culture objects — books, music, movies — which allow revolutionary impulses to be expressed and expended. Viewing scenes of overthrow and revolt in the cinema, the people would experience release, and fail to feel the need to revolt in real life.
That is the fear with Waiting for “Superman.” Though the frustration and indignation at the plight of these children is intense, the film may serve as a sort of catharsis through outrage — leaving the viewer feeling subconsciously satisfied, despite the message.
That would be a tragedy — to see and not act. Despite his clear ideology and simplistic solutions, Guggenheim does have one thing absolutely right: Our education system is failing hundreds of thousands of students and families every day. We must act, but the solutions lie in dedicated hard work, not the waving of a magic wand (or the writing of a magic contract).