Monday, May 18, 2009

Weekend Reads

Harlem school's successes were "no miracle" says Noguera

Posting as a guest on Gotham Schools, Pedro Noguera counter punches with NYT's conservative columnist David Brooks , "The Harlem Miracle," and makes mincemeat out of his arguments. Brooks had claimed that the jump in test scores at the Promise Academy school within the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) had "completely eliminated the black-white achievement gap," a affirmation of Joel Klein's conservative "no excuses" faction (EEP).

In fact, argues Noguera, who co-directs the Broader and Bolder Approach (BBA) policy coalition, the gains made by children at the school and within Geoffrey Canada's HCZ are attributable to a combination of quality education and a focus on their social and emotional needs.
The Promise Academy, praised by David Brooks, is a wonderful school, but it is not unique and hardly a “miracle.” There are several schools in Harlem and other parts of New York where poor children are achieving at high levels. Many of these are charter schools, but some are public and private schools. In most cases, these schools succeed not because they impart middle class values, (there is very little evidence that the middle class is the only group that values hard work and courteous behavior) but because of high academic expectations and a clear, coherent approach to educating children. Most importantly, these schools succeed because they also address social, health and psychological needs of the children and families they serve.
BTW, what happened to the giant EEP rally?
Organizers didn't say which five cities were going to be part of the education tour. Sharpton energized the crowd, leading a few hundred drizzle-kissed onlookers in the familiar chant: "No justice! No Peace!" (Daily News)
Brother Fred writes:

What if the Education Equality Project bunch call a rally and nobody shows? Rotherham predicted 40,000. Oops.


  1. Mike: I haven't read the underlying study that Brooks refers to in his column. But to suggest that HCZ's success is solely attributable to the work inside the classroom seems a clear misreading of the lesson of Paul Tough's book on HCZ. As my Boston Review article, which you link to below, makes clear, it is way more complicated than that.
    Keep up the good work, James

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  3. Thanks James. I'm glad that you and Pedro are speaking out on these issues.


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