Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Oregon’

Friday, November 4th, 2011

Fostering Hope

I had a great time last week visiting Salem, Oregon, to give the keynote address at the Closing the Gap Summit run by Salem’s Fostering Hope Initiative. Saerom Yoo, a reporter for the Salem Statesman-Journal, wrote this report on the event.

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Speech in Oregon

On October 25, I’ll be giving the keynote address at the Fostering Hope/Closing the Gap Summit in Salem, Oregon, organized by the Catholic Community Services organization in the region. The summit is part of a new project called the Fostering Hope Initiative, designed to strengthen families and protect children. A reporter for the Statesman-Journal wrote about the initiative here, and included some comments from me about the Harlem Children Zone model.

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.

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

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.”

Friday, September 24th, 2010

Radio in Oregon

As I mentioned last month, I was in Oregon this week, giving talks to various audiences in Portland and Eugene. While I was there, I also appeared on two radio shows. On Tuesday, I was the guest on a weekly Internet radio show called “Parenting Unplugged.” I was interviewed by the hosts, Todd Mansfield and Laura Mansfield. Audio of our half-hour conversation is here.

On Wednesday, I talked about Promise Neighborhoods on “Think Out Loud,” the Oregon Public Broadcasting morning show hosted by Emily Harris. My fellow guests were Russ Whitehurst, a Brookings Institution analyst who wrote a report critical of Promise Neighborhood funding (I referred to his report in my New York Times op-ed last month), as well as two local leaders who had applied unsuccessfully for Promise Neighborhood funding.

You can listen to the program and read listener comments here, or you can just download the audio here.

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Speech in Portland

On September 22, I’ll be giving a lunchtime speech in Portland, Oregon, at an event organized by the Oregon Community Foundation. Details, including how to order tickets, are here. In a blog post on the foundation’s website, Mary Louise McClintock, the foundation’s early-childhood program director, gives some background:

Geoffrey Canada has developed a system of pre-birth-to-college support in Harlem. Author Paul Tough spent five years observing Canada’s process and meeting with the administrators, teachers and students who make up the Harlem Children’s Zone’s “Promise Neighborhood.” The story of how this has played out is astonishing and Tough’s book is a page-turner. Impressed with Geoff Canada’s approach and results so far, the Obama Administration has proposed funding for Promise Neighborhood replication sites around the country.

In my years in the early childhood field, I have seen increased recognition — around the state and in the nation — of the critical role that early childhood development plays in the health and well-being of the child, the adult they become and society as a whole. The Harlem Children’s Zone appears to be one more example of how investments in our youngest children and their families can pay off in later school success.