HCZ and Obama/Duncan

Check out President Obama’s plan for expanding the Harlem Children’s Zone service model across the country.

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Check out President Obama’s plan for expanding the Harlem Children’s Zone community model across the country.

Seward Darby of The New Republic blog, The Plank, is maintaining a hesitantly optimistic view of  Secretary of Education Arne Duncan’s daring. However, Duncan seems to be on message with Obama’s campaign promise of creating 20 HCZs across the country as he states in the video above.

The Harlem Children’s Zone is a 97-Block area in Harlem, NY which offers a myriad of social services (including charter schools) to support youth and families from birth through old age. It’s a 360 degree web of support that lives out the age old maxim “it takes a village…”  Check out Slate.com‘s review of New York Times Magazine editor Paul Tough’s recent book on HCZ and CEO and founder, Geoffrey Canada: “Whatever It Takes: Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America.”

Is this in the realm of “education?” Should the Secretary of Education be focusing on issues and institutions outside of schools? How exactly do you open up avenues to opportunity for youth in disenfranchised communities? Can schools alone do this?

As stimulus and budget funds are doled out in the coming months and years,” Darby notes  “it will be interesting to see where dollars actually go, and whether Duncan is successful at matching his early, audacious words with innovative actions.”

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