Posts Tagged ‘Philadelphia’
Three fairly random items from various sources, each, in its own way, heart-warming (for me, at least):
1. In 2010, James Shechter, a sophomore at the Haverford School, a private school near Philadelphia, came across the article I wrote in 2008 on schools in New Orleans in the New York Times Magazine. He was inspired by two of the educators I wrote about, Tiffany Hardrick and Keith Sanders, who were, at the time, starting a new charter school called Miller-McCoy Academy. According to a recent article in the Neighbors Main Line Blog, Shechter contacted Hardrick and Sanders, spent the summer in New Orleans tutoring Miller-McCoy students, and has since raised close to $10,000 for the school.
2. In December, the Education Writers Association’s Educated Reporter blog gave its “Water Cooler Award (for one of the most talked-about stories of the year)” to my article in the New York Times Magazine about character, “What If the Secret to Success Is Failure?” (The article will be included, in expanded and adapted form, in my book “How Children Succeed,” which will be published on September 4.)
3. In O: The Oprah Magazine, the writer and comedian Ali Wentworth selected “Whatever It Takes” as one of the “books that made a difference” in her life:
“This is a life-changing book,” Wentworth says of Tough’s look at the work of social activist and educator Geoffrey Canada, who created the Harlem Children’s Zone, a cradle-to-college, community-based organization. “My mantra is ‘The art is in the doing.’ A lot of people talk about polls and research, but I have a hard time with all the red tape. I just go, I get it, but can we rush a can of soup to the family right now?”
“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.
Whatever it Takes is an engaging read that will have teachers, parents, administrators, and students rethinking the ways in which change can happen and what kind of change is achievable. It also shows that determination, flexibility, and community support can bring about meaningful, widespread reform.
Attention Philadelphians: Next Monday, March 9, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., I’ll be taking part in a panel discussion about Whatever It Takes sponsored by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. The event will be hosted by Hallam Hurt, a neonatologist at CHOP, and will include remarks from Martha Farah, a cognitive neuroscientist whose research appears in the second chapter of the book. Check out the flyer above for more details.
“There is a model here that can work and be adapted in other places,” Tough said. “My hope is that other people building on what [Canada] has done will be able to meet [his] success and surpass it.”
I know, February seems a long way off. But for the record: I’ll be reading from “Whatever It Takes” and answering questions at the University of Pennsylvania bookstore in Philadelphia at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 24. It’s at 3601 Walnut St.