Whatever it Takes: Geoffrey Canada's Quest to Change Harlem and America

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009 - Education - 310 pages
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 also 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.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - klburnside - LibraryThing

I saw this book on a shelf at the bookstore and picked it up because it was praised by Ira Glass on the cover. I then turned it over and saw additional praise from Dave Eggers and Michael Pollan. I ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - MichelleCH - LibraryThing

Ironically Paul Tough was a little tough on the parents he portrays in the Harlem Children's Zone and in my opinion, helps to promote stereotypes around dress, household composition and styles of ... Read full review

Contents

The Lottery
1
Unequal Childhoods
21
Baby College
53
Contamination
98
Battle Mode
126
Bad Apples
155
Last Chance
174
The Conveyor Belt
188
Escape Velocity
213
Graduation
234
What Would It Take?
257
Afterword
271
Acknowledgments
284
Notes
289
Index
300
Copyright

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About the author (2009)

Paul Tough is an editor at the New York Times Magazine and one of America's foremost writers on poverty, education, and the achievement gap. His reporting on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone originally appeared as a Times Magazine cover story.

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