What would it take?
That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents.
Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time. This e-book includes a sample chapter of HOW CHILDREN SUCCEED.
New York Times journalist Tough profiles educational visionary Geoffrey Canada, whose Harlem Children's Zone currently serving more than 7,000 children and encompassing 97 city blocks represents an audacious effort to end poverty within underserved communities. Canada's radical experiment is predicated upon changing everything in these communities creating an interlocking web of services targeted at the poorest and least likely to succeed children: establishing programs to prepare and support parents, a demanding k-8 charter school and a range of after-school programs for high school students. Tough adeptly integrates the intensely personal stories of the staff, students and teachers of the Children's Zone with expert opinions and the broiling debates over poverty, race and education. The author's admiration for Canada and his "social experiment" is obvious yet tempered by journalistic restraint as he summarizes the current understanding of the causes of poverty and academic underperformance and their remedies. Smoothly narrated, affecting and heartening, this book gives readers a solid look at the problems facing poor communities and their reformers, as well as good cause to be optimistic about the future.
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A must read
For an avid Geoffery Canada fan, for anyone who is interested in the promise neighborhoods that are rapidly expanding across the country, for anyone who cares about closing the education gap or for anyone who wishes to help fight the poverty that contaminates America's urban minority areas- this is a MUST READ.