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 97-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 livestheir 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.
©2009 Paul Tough (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
I loved this book. It chronicles Geoffrey Canada's personal experience growing up in a culture that did not always encourage academic success and his professional journey to combat the lack of educational achievement in Harlem. I love that the author also wove into this story a history of the governmental policies and some of the major writings (i.e. "The Bell Curve") on tackling this same issue. Wow- that sounds boring, but it's really not! If you have ever wondered if anything can be done to help the disadvantaged then this book will inspire you. The narrator was a pleasure to listen to as well.
I was interested in issues around poverty and education. I also wanted to know more about the Harlem's Children's Zone. I am glad I listened to this book. I have found myself referencing the ideas in the books and the story has stayed with me. Good read!
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