Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘South Carolina’

Saturday, April 9th, 2011

Another Prince Donation

This week, Prince, the musician, gave $250,000 to the Eau Claire Promise Zone, a group that is trying to emulate the Harlem Children’s Zone in the Eau Claire neighborhood of Columbia, South Carolina. (Its board includes Geoffrey Canada’s brother Daniel.) Prince’s new donation is in addition to the $1 million that he gave to the Harlem Children’s Zone in February.

It is worth noting that Prince’s total contributions to HCZ-like endeavors now stand at $1.25 million, compared to the $10 million that the federal government has spent on Promise Neighborhoods so far.

If you’re moved to compare the two investments, there are two important metrics to keep in mind. The first is raw dollars, and by that measure, the federal government is clearly ahead, having thus far spent eight times as much as Prince. But if you compare promises to follow-through, the story looks different: President Obama promised in 2007 to spend “a few billion dollars a year” on HCZ replications. Which means Obama’s administration is currently spending about 0.2 percent of what he said was the minimum necessary to make the program work. (“I’ll be honest; it can’t be done on the cheap,” he said in the 2007 speech. “But we will find the money to do this, because we can’t afford not to.”)

Prince didn’t promise anything. Which makes his donations look all the more generous, by contrast.

Friday, January 28th, 2011

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.

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.

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

A Zone in Charleston?

From the Post and Courier in Charleston, S.C., a story about efforts to bring a Promise Neighborhood to that city:

The Charleston Promise Neighborhood would include Charleston’s East Side and Neck Area and extend into North Charleston, and its goal is to make that area indistinguishable from the rest of the county by breaking the cycle of poverty and improving education. The roughly 3,000 children who live in the zone and attend Sanders-Clyde, James Simons, Mary Ford and Chicora elementary schools would be the primary beneficiaries of its services and programs, which would begin at birth.

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Book Club Roundup

In Carolina book-club news: According to the Charlotte Observer, the Mecklenburg Citizens for Public Education is inviting Charlotte residents to take part in a book-club discussion of “Whatever It Takes” this month. And in Beaufort, South Carolina, the Friends of the Beaufort County Library have chosen the book for tomorrow’s lunch-time discussion at the Sea Island Presbyterian Church.

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Zone Plans in Charleston

In yesterday’s Post and Courier, a report on plans by civic leaders in Charleston, South Carolina, to apply for federal Promise Neighborhood funds:

Charleston hopes to be among the front-runners for this money, and key leaders such as school Superintendent Nancy McGinley and Charleston Mayor Joe Riley have been working behind the scenes to better position Charleston for the funding.

Although school officials have led local planning efforts, the school district wouldn’t necessarily coordinate the programs. The money would go directly to schools and programs included in Charleston Children’s Zone, and the district would be one of the agencies involved in making the plan work.

The proposed zone would encompass Charleston’s East Side, the Neck Area and extend into North Charleston, and it would target four elementary schools: Sanders-Clyde, James Simons, Mary Ford and Chicora. The focus of the zone’s programs would be the area’s roughly 3,000 children, from birth to age 17.

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.

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Charleston and Promise Neighborhoods

According to this morning’s Post and Courier, the schools superintendent in Charleston, S.C., is angling to make that city home to one of the first Promise Neighborhoods. According to the article:

The intention of the Promise Neighborhoods project is to replicate in communities nationwide some of what’s been done in the Harlem’s Children Zone, a 97-block area in Central Harlem in New York City that provides social, educational, health and recreational programs for children from birth through college. …

President Barack Obama began talking about Promise Neighborhoods during his campaign, and he’s requested $10 million in next year’s budget for one-year planning grants for communities that want to develop these programs. Grant recipients would be eligible to receive implementation money the following year. …

Communities can’t apply for the planning grant yet, but McGinley has been working behind-the-scenes to ensure that Charleston would be a frontrunner for the money. She’s talked with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, North Charleston Mayor Keith Summey, and downtown and North Charleston ministers to gather support. She’s pulled research on poverty and school readiness and drafted a preliminary proposal that targets downtown, North Charleston and possibly Hollywood-area schools.