Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Seattle’

Monday, May 9th, 2011

More “Poverty Clinic” reactions

There are a few new interesting blog posts about “The Poverty Clinic,” my profile in the New Yorker of the pediatrician Nadine Burke.

On WellCommons, a community health website in Lawrence, Kansas, the article was discussed as part of an intriguing and ambitious effort to infuse the local healthcare and social-service systems with a new awareness of the potential impact of adverse childhood experiences.

In San Francisco, Marnie Webb, the co-CEO of an organization called TechSoup Global that helps non-profits use technology better, wrote about the article on her blog, concluding:

Sometimes, I think that we, in the helping sectors, focus too much on the symptoms in our particular scope. Not enough on the community around us. I think there’s a lot we can learn from the way Nadine Burke is approaching her practice. I’m just not entirely sure what it is yet.

On the National Resources Defense Council staff blog, Marissa Ramirez writes about the connections between molecular biology and sustainable communities discussed in my article, and about her own transition from biology researcher to environmental advocate:

You may wonder what a former lab-coat wearing molecular biologist is doing advocating for sustainable communities at a leading environmental organization. It turns out she is fostering healthy neuromuscular junctions and optimal epigenetics — one sustainable neighborhood at a time.

And on Crosscut, a Seattle news website, a former teacher and school leader named Judy Lightfoot uses the article to argue against cuts to mental-health services for adolescents in and around Seattle:

Improving the behavior of the parent or caregiver of children in high-risk situations actually changes their physical chemistry, according to the studies Tough cites, leading to fewer behavior problems and greater success in school, as well as measurably better health outcomes as years pass. So it’s distressing to lose [mental health] programs that would have steered children of drug users away from drugs and helped chemically dependent adults be better parents

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Promise Neighborhoods Roundup

June 30 was the deadline for groups applying for Promise Neighborhood planning grants, and according to this story in Youth Today, the department of education received 339 separate applications for the 20 grants. The department’s web site posted an interactive map showing where the applications came from. NPR did a story. And the Nonprofit Quarterly had some predictions:

Who is likely to get the Promise Neighborhoods designations? Potential applicants are sorting through their competitive advantages and disadvantages. Those with histories of foundation support and backing have something of a leg up in generating matching dollars, such as the Highline School District in and around Seattle, which boasts a decade of involvement from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Making Connections project. An impending Los Angeles County application boasts the involvement of a funders consortium including the California Endowment and the Annenberg Foundation. For the Dwight neighborhood of New Haven, Connecticut, long the focus of planning efforts over the years, the presence of Yale as a neighbor constitutes a level of institutional and technical credibility.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of local coverage of specific applicants, including stories, editorials, and letters from Charleston, South Carolina; Rochester, New York; St. Paul, Minnesota; Norwich, Connecticut; Athens, Georgia; Las Vegas; northeast Ohio; and a Native American community in rural Colorado.

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood Updates

In yesterday’s Highline Times, an article about plans by the local school board to apply for a Promise Neighborhood grant for the White Center area, outside Seattle:

Highline board members approved partnering with other local service agencies to apply for a planning grant to develop a Promise Neighborhood project in the White Center area.

If the planning grant is accepted, the local agencies would receive $500,000. So far, 941 entities have applied for the grant with 20 expected to receive funding.

And in the Austin American-Statesman, news that the school board made the somewhat controversial decision to throw its weight behind the Austin Achievement Zone, one of two local initiatives applying for a Promise Neighborhood grant. (In April, I spoke at a public meeting organized by the Austin Achievement Zone.) According to the article:

By addressing the challenges associated with living in poverty, Austin Achievement Zone organizers hope to provide students with basic services — such as ensuring that mothers get prenatal care and tutoring schoolchildren — that will ultimately improve academic performance at chronically struggling campuses. Organizers said they envision being heavily involved in the lives of up to 3,400 children living near Reagan High, Webb Middle and Pickle Elementary schools.

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Blog roundup

Recent blog posts on “Whatever It Takes” from a reference librarian in Perrysburg, Ohio; a student at the Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock; a Microsoft executive in Seattle; and an early-childhood specialist in Chicago, who posted her reflections on the panel discussion I was a part of at Loyola University Law School in February:

I also think that there are many, many people in non-profits who are tired of business-as-usual, tired of feeling like their work is a drop in the ocean, tired of talking themselves into believing in what they do every day.  Some of those people must have been in the audience that night, looking for a thicker strand of hope to pull on.

From what I’ve read, hope is much of what Geoffrey Canada’s concept is riding on now: hope with an almost desperate promise of metrics, if we could all be patient for a while.  And many of us are willing to be patient, because we believe as we have believed for years, that he’s making it happen – he’s doing it.  He’s doing what we thought should be done all along: comprehensive services, for all stages of childhood, supportive of the family and community as well as the child.  This is the silent promise we’ve been imagining, and Canada actually managed to speak the promise out loud.

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Forbes/Real Change News

From two very different publications, articles about the Harlem Children’s Zone and the prospect of Promise Neighborhoods. In Real Change News, a weekly paper sold by the homeless in Seattle, an interview with Geoffrey Canada, in which he recounts the advice he has given the Obama Administration about Promise Neighborhoods:

We felt like they had to go with the right leadership. They had to get communities that were already down the road on figuring out their area and working out the collaboration issues. There had to be some structure for management in place, and there had to be resources so that it wouldn’t be under resourced, and a real commitment of local leadership — for the vision of the community and not for the individual schools. We thought those were some of the must-haves in the first few of these that have come up. So we’ve had those kinds of conversations with the administration.

And in Forbes, Nicole Perlroth cautions:

Any school rescue program that relies less on donations and more on taxpayer money is at risk of becoming a captive of the education establishment. A two-year project to replicate the Zone in Jacksonville, Fla. saw its largest private donor, the Chartrand Foundation, back out when it appeared that the program would be run by government officials and lack the Zone’s accountability.

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Seattle Times column

Seattle Times columnist Jerry Large devotes today’s column to the Harlem Children’s Zone and Whatever It Takes:

In the Harlem Children’s Zone, kids excel in school no matter how poor their homes.

In his book “Whatever it Takes,” Paul Tough writes about the zone and its creator, Geoffrey Canada, who created a formula that promises to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty and transform education. …

Canada’s work removes any excuses we’ve used for not getting it right. It gives us reason to put away despair and take up hope.

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Seattle talk

On June 10, I’ll be the keynote speaker at the annual United Way of King County breakfast at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle. Copies of Whatever It Takes will be for sale, thanks to the Elliott Bay Book Company.