Posts Tagged ‘“The Success Equation”’
I was interviewed recently by Aleksandra Kaniewska, a Polish journalist working for Civic Institute, a think tank in Warsaw, which just published the interview as a Q&A in their web magazine, translated into Polish. Unfortunately, I don’t understand Polish, so I can’t read it, but apparently I said:
Nie chodzi więc o to, żeby dzieci jednego dnia pasjonowały się polityką, a drugiego jazdą na snowboardzie, tylko uparcie dążyły do wybranego przez siebie celu, jakikolwiek on będzie. Niestety, większość szkół nie sprawdza i nie wytwarza umiejętności samokontroli i wytrwałości. A są one niezbędne do szczęśliwego i spełnionego życia!
which according to Google Translate, means:
It is not, therefore, is that one day children are passionate about politics, and a second ride on a snowboard, but stubbornly sought to order their choice, whatever it is. Unfortunately, most schools do not verify and does not produce self-control skills and perseverance. And they are essential to a happy and fulfilled life!
That sounds like me.
Two recent broadcast/podcast interviews about my article in the New York Times Magazine on character education at KIPP and Riverdale. On the American RadioWorks weekly podcast about education, I talked about the article with Stephen Smith, the host of the podcast. Audio here.
And on Minnesota Public Radio’s morning show, David Levin of KIPP and author David Shenk discussed the article and KIPP’s approach to character. Audio here.
Some response from around the web to my article in the New York Times Magazine on character education at KIPP and Riverdale Country School. The magazine published a few letters to the editor here. On this blog, part of the Times’s Learning Network, 536 high-school students weighed in with their comments. And on the Classroom as Microcosm blog, a writing teacher in Montreal known, pseudonymously, as Siobhan Curious writes that the article gave her some ideas about how to better instruct failure-averse students in her class:
According to Tough and some of his subjects, the key ingredient is grit, the ability to persist in the face of obstacles and even failure.
GRIT! I thought. This is what I’ve been saying all along! If I can face down my limitations, if I can labour to be, not perfect, but better – I will be … happy? Is grit something we can learn? If so, how can we teach it? …
Teaching them how to write a commentary is all very well, but what is it for? Maybe the main thing is for is to help them practice grit: Yes, it’s hard. Just keep going. If you fail, fail as well as you can, and then try again.
We need to spend less time talking about literary techniques and more time talking about grit.
Curious’s blog post has so far collected 219 comments.
Some more blog reaction to my article on character education in the New York Times Magazine, from Mothering 21 (a blog for parents of adult children who aren’t quite sure if they’re adults or children), Early Ed Watch, and the Evil HR Lady, who writes:
Lots of people live charmed lives as long as their parents are pulling the strings or they put themselves in places where success is almost guaranteed. Except that anyone in the working world today knows that failure is not only a possibility it’s a high probability. Businesses fail. Entire divisions get laid off, regardless of how brilliant any individual employee was. Sometimes it’s just a matter of trying to figure out what the problem in the darn code is. If you’re a one try and you’re finished type of person, it doesn’t matter how smart you are, you won’t succeed.
There’s been a lot of interesting commentary, from a variety of sources, on my article for the New York Times Magazine on character education, which draws on some of the reporting that I’ve been doing for my next book, “The Success Equation.” On the Times’s Motherlode blog, Lisa Belkin published a guest commentary on the article from a mother named Melissa Sher, who writes,
Life can be more than messy: bad things happen. But our job as parents isn’t to stop them all from happening. Because we can’t. Instead, we can try to make our kids feel loved, valued and secure. So, if we’re lucky, when our children do fall or if things fall apart around them, they’ll get back up.
Evan Osnos, on his “Letter from China” blog on the New Yorker’s site, wrote about how an article like mine might go over in China today:
It will be years before any Chinese magazine sells a story like that on its cover, but achievement, classically defined, has lost some luster.
On the Atlantic’s site, Edward Tenner, an historian, relates the character push by KIPP and Riverdale to similiar discussions of character in the 19th and 20th centuries. He concludes,
It may be that today’s successful city people — the parents of day school students — are likely to have parents or grandparents who did defy adversity, overcoming failure. Many of them sacrificed precisely so that their grandchildren wouldn’t have to. Private school costs may be stratospheric, but if you have to ask the price of some forms of resilience, you can’t afford them.
In the Financial Times, Luke Johnson took a business approach, asserting that the values that KIPP and Riverdale are trying to instill “could equally be the defining criteria for entrepreneurs.”
And on the National Review’s domestic-policy blog, Reihan Salam wrote about the passage in my article when KIPP teacher Sayuri Stabrowski turns a gum-chewing dispute with a student into a deeper discussion about character. Salam writes:
For some reason I found this very moving. It is easy for any of us to feel powerless in the face of trying circumstances, and this is particularly true of adolescents. Yet this student is being taught, in a fairly unsentimental, straightforward way, that she has the capacity for self-control, and that she has an obligation, to her fellow students, her teacher, and to herself, to exercise it.
This weekend’s New York Times Magazine includes an article I wrote about character education. It focuses on a collaborative project between the KIPP schools in New York City and Riverdale Country School — a project that I’m also writing about in my book “The Success Equation,” which is due out in the fall of 2012. On the Times’s new SchoolBook blog, as an adjunct to the article, they’re soliciting reader questions for David Levin, the superintendent of KIPP NYC, and Dominic Randolph, the head of Riverdale.
I’m hard at work on “The Success Equation,” my second book, which will be published next year. So I’m behind on my blog updates (and everything else). Some belated news from July: I published an essay in the New York Times Magazine about the current state of the education reform movement titled “No, Seriously: No Excuses.” I also wrote this post for the magazine’s blog.
Education reform shouldn’t be an “either/or” debate, but more about “and.” Kids–especially poor kids–need far more academic, vocational, social, and psychological interventions, provided by well-trained adults and institutions.
I also did an hour-long interview with Kathleen Dunn (and several callers) on Wisconsin Public Radio. Audio is here.
In May, Geoffrey Canada visited the Chicago neighborhood of Roseland (where I’ve spent a lot of time during the past school year reporting for my next book, “The Success Equation”). Geoff spoke to students and community members at Fenger High School at the kickoff of the Roseland Children’s Initiative, a Promise Neighborhood-like project sponsored by SGA Youth & Family Services (whose annual benefit I spoke at in 2010).
to reach 65 percent of the roughly 14,000 young people in Roseland, enough to bring the neighborhood to a “tipping point” toward improvement.
Last week I had a story in the New Yorker about Nadine Burke, a pediatrician in San Francisco, and the work she is doing to develop a clinical treatment protocol from the emerging research about childhood trauma and its longterm effects. My reporting about Dr. Burke will become part of my new book, “The Success Equation,” which Houghton Mifflin Harcourt will publish next year.
The New Yorker story got me booked on “RadioWest,” an hourlong public-affairs show on KUER in Salt Lake City. The host, Doug Fabrizio, asked some great questions, as did the many callers, from Utah and around the country (the show is also broadcast nationwide on Sirius XM). There’s now audio of the whole hour available here.
The article also played a part in this fascinating blog post from Whet Moser, on Chicagomag.com, which manages to tie together my reporting on Dr. Burke with Alex Kotlowitz’s great reporting in the New York Times Magazine on the Ceasefire initiative in Chicago, as well as a handful of other news reports and scientific studies. It’s well worth reading to get some broader context on the question of childhood trauma.
Yesterday on Early Ed Watch, a blog about early education from the New American Foundation, Lisa Guernsey, the director of the foundation’s early education initiative, published a Q&A that she did with me on early education, my new book, the Harlem Children’s Zone, and “Waiting for ‘Superman,'” among other topics. An excerpt:
I’m working on a new book that has me back out visiting a lot of schools, and I’m interested in the so-called non-cognitive aspects of persistent poverty and educational opportunities that help people escape from poverty. I’m looking at how – both at the preschool level and also the high school level – interventions may focus on aspects of character or personality or executive function. For me personally that’s the most interesting thing going on out there. It’s really early and less connected and less well-formed as an argument than what I was writing about in Whatever it Takes, but it contains the germ of having new ways of thinking about poverty and what is going on in the lives of poor kids and what kinds of interventions might get them out of poverty.