Monday, December 7, 2009

Goeffrey Canada does "Whatever it takes"

As you might have seen on 60 minutes, this past Sunday night, educational visionary Geoffrey Canada asked what it would 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.  In his book Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America, New York Times Magazine contributing editor Paul Tough gives us an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but also of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds to create one of the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.

My conversation with Paul Tough:

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