Paul Tough

Writer & Speaker

Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

Sunday, October 31st, 2010

Canada in Milwaukee

On Oct. 22, Geoffrey Canada gave a keynote speech in Milwaukee at the conference of the Alliance for Children and Families. The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reported that “Canada addressed some of the questions he’s faced about the practicality of applying his Harlem Children’s Zone model to the rest of the nation.”

“There is a double standard in this country,” Canada said, adding that when people ask about non-educational services at Harlem Children’s Zone and how they affect kids’ scores, he admits they don’t. But he asks why they want their kids to see the dentist and play tennis.

“We know these things are important; we shouldn’t have to justify it,” Canada said.

By building communities around children, especially those in the most challenging circumstances, Canada said you can foster a sense of optimism in children. Educational success will follow.

“In saving kids, you got to be prepared to save families,” Canada said.

Accompanying the article was a column by Alan J. Borsuk, who took issue with some of Canada’s strategies, but concluded,

[T]here is something to what Canada says. The schools in Milwaukee that are most in line with what he advocates really are different from your general run of struggling public schools. The energy and dedication put into the pursuit of getting the students to succeed is at the core of the difference.

Maybe the people running and teaching in the large number of schools in Milwaukee with weak results should rest less easily, should be pushing harder to find better ways to do things, and should expect more of themselves. There are efforts under way to overhaul some of those schools, but I’m quite sure they are not as ambitious as Canada would want.

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Promise Neighborhood News

More news stories about communities around the country using the example of the Harlem Children’s Zone to develop new strategies to help poor children succeed. In the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, an article about a new nonprofit working to rebuild that city’s Lindsay Heights neighborhood. From North Minneapolis comes news about the Northside Achievement Zone. There are two big initiatives in New Jersey, one in Newark, and one in Camden.

And from Athens, Georgia, a report on the Whatever It Takes initiative:

The name “Whatever It Takes” was taken from the title of a book by Paul Tough, an account of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a large-scale social service project that inundates children in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood with educational and health services aimed at turning them into college graduates. Following the Obama Administration’s announcement of the Promise Neighborhood grant in April, the U.S. Department of Education stated that the program would be based in part on the Harlem Children’s Zone model. Even so, Earnest and Johnson say that WIT is not intended to be a replication of that project.

Here’s a video from Athens, introduced by Michael Stipe:

Monday, January 18th, 2010

More Milwaukee

After Geoffrey Canada’s speech in Madison, Wisconsin, last week, some new coverage by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, including this report on a task force to create a Harlem’s Children Zone-like project in Milwaukee:

Gov. Jim Doyle has said that the state’s application for Race to the Top, a pool of federal grants worth $4.35 billion, will include a proposal to create a Milwaukee Children’s Zone with part of the money. In addition, a Milwaukee Public Schools task force – formed in the summer of 2009 by Doyle, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and state Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers – has called for the creation of “Milwaukee Children’s Zones.” Also, state lawmakers pushing for Milwaukee’s mayor to take over MPS have included a proposal for a local Harlem Children’s Zone-like experiment as part of their governance bill pending in the state Legislature.

But in yesterday’s paper, Alan J. Borsuk, the education columnist, interviewed Canada and struck a more skeptical note:

Then came what I would suggest is the big one, when it comes to Milwaukee: Canada said, “Then there’s the leadership issue.” You need, he said, “a leadership group that’s prepared to take on the mission. . . .  There has to be a leadership strategy where someone is held accountable.” Canada’s definitions of mission and leadership leave an awful lot of Milwaukee leaders in the dust.

Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Canada in Milwaukee

From today’s edition of the Capital Times in Madison, Wisconsin, an article about Geoffrey Canada’s visit to Milwaukee next week, and the growing interest in the city in building something similar to the Harlem Children’s Zone:

Gubernatorial candidate and Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is an enthusiastic Geoffrey Canada fan and is intrigued by the notion of developing children’s zones in Milwaukee.

“I saw the New York Times Magazine story about the Harlem Children’s Zone and I read Paul Tough’s book,” he says in a phone interview. “I was very interested in how these ideas could be applied to Milwaukee.”