Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Obama’

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Savannah zone news

In the Savannah, Georgia, Morning News, a story about the effort to replicate the Harlem Children’s Zone in that city:

The local group has worked for almost a year to prepare its case to become one of the 20 Promise Neighborhoods President Barack Obama announced support for early in his administration. The preparations have continued, although no requests for proposals have been received.

[Geoffrey] Canada brought his vision to Savannah last year, and [Mayor Otis] Johnson has made the local program modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone a personal priority. It builds on efforts he headed while executive director of the Youth Futures during its first decade to improve the lot of children and families. Both Johnson and [Edward] Chisolm, [executive director of the Chatham-Savannah Youth Futures Authority], joined by committee members, have made it their goal to pursue the program even if denied being chosen as one of the 20 cities selected for planning funding.

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Brian Lehrer show

This morning I was a guest on the Brian Lehrer show on WNYC in New York, along with Helen Zelon, the author of a new report in City Limits magazine taking a skeptical view of the Obama Administration’s plans to bring the Harlem Children’s Zone model to other cities. (The report isn’t online yet, but it should be posted on the City Limits web site soon.) There is audio, along with comments from listeners, on the WNYC web site, here.

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Center for American Progress Report

The Center for American Progress has analyzed President Obama’s education budget for 2011 in great detail. The center’s analysts had this to say about the budget’s community initiatives:

The president also proposes to support community schools under a reformed CCLC program. The Center for American Progress discussed the benefits of school-based services offered by community schools in a recent report. In addition, the proposed $210 million in funding for Promise Neighborhoods will allow for the replication of the highly successful Harlem’s Children’s Zone in communities across the country. The president is right to prioritize funding for school-level reforms that facilitate access to important social and health services for students and families.

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Tea Leaves

There is an enlightening new post on the Building Neighborhoods blog, run by United Neighborhood Centers of America, answering (and speculating on) some of the questions left unanswered by the Promise Neighborhood request in President Obama’s new budget:

It is possible that as many as 20 neighborhoods will receive planning grants, but only a fraction of them will be chosen to advance to the implementation phase based on the quality of their plans.

If we assume around 5 neighborhoods receive implementation money in the first year, what does that tell us? If each of these neighborhoods comes up with a 50% local match, that’s $80 million per neighborhood over five years. Assuming a slow ramp-up, that could take you to a program maybe half of HCZ’s size in a few years time — possibly larger with more local money thrown in the pot.

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

$210 Million

The federal education department issued a press release yesterday explaining President Obama’s 2011 budget request. Here’s the budget proposal for the Promise Neighborhoods program, which received $10 million in the 2010 budget:

$210 million for Promise Neighborhoods, a new competitive grant program modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone that combines comprehensive social services with school improvements in order to transform whole neighborhoods.

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Promise Neighborhood Conference

This week, the Harlem Children’s Zone presented Changing the Odds: Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone Model, a conference attended by 1,400 people from around the country who came to New York in delegations to learn more about the Zone and about Promise Neighborhoods. Several officials in the Obama administration spoke at the conference, providing new details about the Promise Neighborhood initiative, including Arne Duncan, the education secretary; Melody Barnes, the director of the president’s Domestic Policy Council; Adolfo Carrion, the special assistant to the president for urban affairs; Heather Higginbottom, the deputy director of the Domestic Policy Council; and Jim Shelton, the assistant deputy secretary of education for innovation and improvement.

In anticipation of the conference, there was local newspaper coverage in San Bernadino, whose conference delegation included Mayor Pat Morris; in Chicago, which sent delegations from three different neighborhoods; in Springfield, Mass., where Geoffrey Canada spoke last week (and I spoke three weeks ago); and in Columbia, South Carolina, where a local group is working on a Zone in the Eau Claire neighborhood.

In Baltimore, a local paper called the Urbanite had a long, detailed article about the various plans in that city for Zone replication projects:

There are at least four Promise Neighborhood proposals in the works: The mayor’s office has been working on one in Park Heights; the nonprofit Living Classrooms is involved with another; and the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins are each pushing proposals as well.

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

An Albany Children’s Zone?

According to an article in today’s Times-Union, the city of Albany, New York, is making a bid to land a Promise Neighborhood:

A group of educators, parents and elected officials has been quietly laboring for a year to establish an anti-poverty corridor in Albany that is based on Harlem Children’s Zone, an ambitious initiative to reach every child in a 100-block section of New York City and provide them and their families with social, health and educational services from birth all the way through college graduation. …

President Barack Obama’s administration has earmarked $10 million in its 2010 budget to plan how it will make Harlem Children’s Zone a national model called Promise Neighborhoods Initiative that will expand to 20 cities across the country. Details of the federal plan have not yet been released, but applications are expected to be accepted next year. Councilwoman Barbara Smith wants to ensure that Albany is on that list and she is not willing to wait for Washington before starting such a program here.

Thursday, October 1st, 2009

Promise Neighborhood news

As preparations continue for the Harlem Children Zone’s November conference on replicating the HCZ model, news from New York City and Chicago on plans to apply for President Obama’s proposed Promise Neighborhood program.

According to NY1, Mayor Bloomberg, speaking at a charter-school anniversary in Harlem, announced that his administration is “pushing to use part of President Barack Obama’s ‘Promise Neighborhoods’ funds for the creation of two new Children’s Zones, one in Brooklyn and one in the South Bronx.”

Meanwhile, Catalyst Notebook, a Chicago schools blog, reports that

Three Chicago neighborhoods are taking the first steps toward potential replication of the Harlem Children’s Zone, the highly-praised program that provides education and social support to poor children and families in Central Harlem.

Representatives from social service agencies in Chicago Lawn, Logan Square and Woodlawn will travel to New York City in the coming weeks to attend a multi-day conference and a ‘practitioner’s institute’ for organizations that are interested in launching Promise Neighborhoods, an initiative of the Obama Administration modeled on the Children’s Zone.

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Obama at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner

President Obama addressed the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual dinner on Saturday and made the case again for Promise Neighborhoods:

This economic crisis has made the problems in the communities of color much worse. But we all know that these problems have been there for a long time. Communities were struggling to catch up long before this economic storm came ashore. One study that looked at trends in this country over the past few decades found that while roughly seven out of every 10 middle class white children end up surpassing their parents’ income, roughly seven out of every 10 middle class black children do not. Think about that. For the majority of some Americans upward mobility, for the majority of others — stagnation or even downward mobility. That was taking place over the last decade, before the economic crisis. That kind of inequality is unacceptable in the United States of America.

Bringing hope and opportunity to places where they’re in short supply — that’s not easy. It will take a focused and sustained effort to eradicate the structural inequalities in our communities — structural inequalities that make it difficult for children of color to make a success of their lives, no matter how smart or how driven or how talented they are. That’s why we’re launching Promise Neighborhoods to build on Geoffrey Canada’s success in Harlem with a comprehensive approach to ending poverty by giving people the tools they need to pull themselves up.

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

A Palm Beach Zone?

In the Palm Beach Post, an editorial urging civic leaders to create a Promise Neighborhood in West Palm Beach:

The Obama administration wants to help 20 cities adopt anti-poverty programs modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone in New York City. Founder/Director Geoffrey Canada may work with programs in four communities, including one in Florida.

For two years, City Commissioner Kimberly Mitchell has laid the groundwork for that community to be West Palm Beach. Last week, she unveiled the West Palm Beach Family Zone, a nonprofit corporation that has state Senate President Jeff Atwater, R-North Palm Beach, among its supporters. The kickoff meeting, held at The Palm Beach Post, included Democrats and Republicans, potential donors from Palm Beach and residents of inner-city neighborhoods.

The current approach of independent and at times overlapping programs – a midnight basketball game here, a family counseling session there – has been playing out without success in Palm Beach County’s poorest communities. The Dunbar Village case reveals how low things can go. “We know what works,” Commissioner Mitchell said. “We have seen what works. Anything short of that is unacceptable.”