Hope or

Hype in
• Who’s Afraid of Charter Schools?
• Commitment, Connections and Cash
• Going Local Goes National
• A Modest ‘Miracle’
• Read. Tink. Do.
Vol. 34, No. 1
March 2010
From Oprah to President
Obama, people think Geoffrey
Canada's Harlem Children's
Zone has found the way for
America to fght poverty.
There's just one question:
Does it work?
Above: Christine Valentin, a student in Kelly Downing and
Patrice Ward’s ninth grade English class at Harlem Children’s
Zone’s Promise Academy I. Photo by Alice Proujansky.
www.citylimits.org 1
Vol. 34, No. 1
March 2010
Is the Promise Real? 4
Te Harlem Children’s Zone becomes
a template for national change
By Helen Zelon / Photographs by Alice Proujansky

The Man of the Hour 5
“We will fnd the money
to do this because we can’t
aford not to.”
The Great Escape 9
“If you hit 65 percent of
the population, that’s the
tipping point.”
Shaping Success 16
“Failure is not permitted,
because funding is tied to
success, not failure.”

Going National 25
“We are so desperate for any
little inkling of success …”
An Act of Faith 34
“So you and I, we must
succeed … in this crusade,
this holy deed.”
Canada’s Provinces 10
An inventory of the Harlem Children’s Zone’s initiatives
By Maria Muentes
In the Zone 13
Te physical footprint of the Harlem Children’s Zone
The Charter Challenge 17
Te pros and conficts of a schooling revolution
By Helen Zelon
Charting a Course 21
A timeline of Harlem’s charter schools
By Samia Shaf
Test Pattern 22
How Harlem’s “miracle” really ranks
Taking It Local 26
Anti-poverty programs beyond the Zone
By Rachel Dodakian
Making Connections 30
Powerful friends, deep pockets and the HCZ
By Maria Muentes and Jarrett Murphy
HomeWork 38
ExtraExtra 42
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Editor's Note
It is hard not to be impressed with Geoffrey Canada.
Charismatic, passionate, eloquent, it is no mystery why he has become a
media star--probably the highest-profile person ever personally associated media star probably the highest profile person ever personally associated
with the fight against poverty. And there is no reason not to be impressed,
for Canada is not merely playing a role on 60 Minutes or the American
Express commercial or wherever he makes his case. He is the genuine
Even before he began the Harlem Children's Zone, Canada had dedicated
his life not just to battling but to defeating poverty--to getting results where his life not just to battling but to defeating poverty--to getting results where
others had failed.
Fixing America's schools and ending poverty have been on America's to do
list for generations, and Canada's model offers a hope of doing both. From
Anderson Cooper to Wall Street financiers to President Obama, everyone
wants to find something--anything--that will work, and so they have
embraced Canada's approach T embraced Canada's approach. T
he media coverage the Zone receives is uniformly glowing. Millionaires and
billionaires have showered it with support. And Obama's signature
antipoverty program, Promise Neighborhoods, is modeled after the
Children's Zone.
h ' bl h d i i i d li i h But there's a problem when admiration turns into duplication. The
impatience sewn by America's past policy failures has amplified the allure of
the Children's Zones early successes. As Canada is the first to state, the
experiment he initiated on a few Harlem blocks in 1994 has yet to run its
course. After all, the charter schools that now anchor the multi-service,
cradle-to-college Harlem Children's Zone are only a few years old. They've
yet to graduate a high school class. The schools have achieved much, but not
without significant bumps along the way. The impact of the larger model of
HCZ's social interventions is harder to track. And the exact mix of services--
schools, clinics, family resources--that produces success is still not clear.
Yet many of Canada's fans are quick to declare his success absolute. Some
isolate one part of the mix, like the charter schools, as the only necessary
element for replicating the project elsewhere. Others pay little attention to p g p j p y
the unique neighborhood dynamics and financial resources that HCZ has
thrived upon.
The danger is not that HCZ gets an unwarranted reputation for success:
Canada deserves all the credit he gets. The risk is that poor attempts to copy
Canada's model will fail, reflect poorly on his good work, undermine yet
another federal attempt to eliminate poverty and leave thousands in another federal attempt to eliminate poverty and leave thousands in
economic isolation. On the pages that follow, Helen Zelon takes a hard look
at what we and don't know about what Geoffrey Canada has accomplished
in Harlem, and what it might mean for a national agenda.
-J arrett Murphy
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 4
www.citylimits.org 5
Is the
The Harlem Children’s Zone becomes
a template for national change
Geofrey Canada strides to the lectern in the New York Sheraton’s
Grand Metropolitan Ballroom amid the clatter and clink of laden
plates and silver cofee urns, as 1,400 sets of eager eyes and ears—fans
and acolytes, students and advocates, civic leaders, law enforcement
ofcers, school chiefs, nonproft stafers and a handful of funders rep-
resenting 106 communities across the United States—turn their atten-
tion away from their sliced-chicken-and-asparagus entrées to the tall,
lean man at the front of the room. Te diners are gathered at a confer-
ence called “Changing the Odds.” Tey are there because they seek to
glean the secrets and wisdom of the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ),
Canada’s all-encompassing neighborhood anti-poverty program.
“We will fnd the money to do this because we can’t aford not to.”
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 6
Previous spread:
Teaching assistant Rudy
de la Cruz corrects tests for
fourth graders at Harlem
Children’s Zone.

The $44 million building
that houses the Harlem
Children’s Zone’s Promise
Academy I is a gleaming
presence on an otherwise
worn-looking block.
Geoffrey Canada’s
charter schools have
been hailed as a national
model. Photo: Rebecca
“We are launching Promise Neighborhoods
to build on Geoffrey Canada’s successes in
Harlem with a comprehensive approach to
ending poverty,” the President has said.
www.citylimits.org 7
And they are not alone in listening closely to
what Canada has to say. His grand experiment,
which began in 1994 as an intensely local web of
cradle-to-college social services and has expanded
to include two charter schools and 97 square blocks
of central Harlem, is about the hottest commodity
on today’s national urban-policy scene.
Just a few weeks afer the conference, Canada
was featured in a glowing 60 Minutes portrait—the
second time the premier TV newsmagazine has
covered the Zone. Oprah Winfrey calls Canada “an
angel from God.” ABC’s Good Morning America,
PBS’s Charlie Rose and CNN’s Soledad O’Brien
have broadcast Canada’s message; National Public
Radio’s Terry Gross and Tavis Smiley have in-
terviewed him; Public Radio International’s Tis
American Life aired a lengthy profle; and articles
about the Harlem Children’s Zone have appeared in
Te Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report,
Newsweek and other leading publications. In 2004,
the Harlem Children’s Zone’s frst charter school
caught the attention of author and New York Times
magazine editor Paul Tough, whose book-length
profle of the Zone, Whatever It Takes, was published
in 2008.
Tink tanks right, lef and center have discussed
and evaluated Canada’s work. President Bill Clin-
ton has paid homage; Britain’s Prince Harry and
Prince Seeiso of Lesotho visited last May. A report
last spring by two Harvard scholars asserting that
Canada’s charter schools have eradicated the long-
entrenched achievement gap between black and
white students cued an ongoing avalanche of praise
from pundits, cheer-led by Times columnist David
Brooks’ celebratory accolade “Te Harlem Miracle.”

In 2007, Canada’s lifework was singled out by
Barack Obama the candidate, and it has since been
written into the President’s proposed 2010 and 2011
budgets as a template for Promise Neighborhoods,
a program that aims to reverse generations of
urban poverty and racial disparity. “We are launch-
ing Promise Neighborhoods to build on Geofrey
Canada’s successes in Harlem with a comprehensive
approach to ending poverty,” the President has said.
Of the cost, which Obama estimates to be “a few
billion a year,” the President has vowed, “We will
fnd the money to do this because we can’t aford
not to.”
Te Obama administration has already dedicated
$10 million for planning grants, to be awarded
competitively to 20 communities that will develop
Promise Neighborhoods built on the Harlem Chil-
dren’s Zone template. Tat’s what drew the audience
that waited for Canada’s words at the Sheraton that
afernoon in November.
Yet as Canada readily admits, his work has just
begun. “We won’t have our cycle completed until 10
years from now,” he told the crowd in November.
“It’s a 20-year cycle.” Te Zone’s Promise Academy
schools have posted celebrated gains on New York
State standardized tests, but the schools are them-
selves too new to register a full complement of
students or graduate a high school class. Many of
HCZ’s social-service programs predate the schools,
but their impact has mostly eluded measurement.
Te White House, prominent academics and the
media have anointed the Harlem Children’s Zone
the weapon of choice for attacking poverty, even
though little is known about what degree of difer-
ence HCZ has actually made, and exactly how it
was achieved.
Tere has been some success, no doubt.
Canada possesses enormous integrity; his lifelong
dedication is unquestioned. But it’s unclear
whether the Harlem Children’s Zone is an
exportable, adaptable commodity that can work
from Cleveland to Compton or a “sui generis,”
only-in–New York idea. Not every neighborhood
could claim the deep, dense fnancial and political
resources that have nurtured the Harlem Children’s
Zone. Not everyone has a homegrown Geof
Canada to lead the way.
How much does a dynamic, charismatic,
visionary leader matter?
Short answer: a great deal.
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 8
www.citylimits.org 9
At the Sheraton conference—co-sponsored
by the Harlem Children’s Zone and PolicyLink,
a California-based research and advocacy
nonproft with ties to the Obama administra-
tion—Canada drapes a lanky arm across the
lectern as he speaks, sliding the mic from its
stand, and moves downstage to confde in
the audience. Two giant screens bracket the
stage, placed catercorner in the vast ballroom
space. When his stories build to an emotional
height, Canada takes a precisely folded milk-
white hanky from his inside suit-coat pocket
and dabs at his brow and the corners of his
mouth, a gold bracelet gleaming on his wrist.
Polished and passionate, undeniably driven
but charmingly self-efacing, Canada’s not shy
to put himself in the punch line of an anec-
dote or to use the silence between his words
to hit hard truths square on: He is a master of
his message, and his presence—his story, his
vision, his dedication and his drive—anchors
the work that has made him a rock star in the
universe of education reform.
Although he now lives in a Long Island
suburb, Canada is a son of the South Bronx
who grew up tough on Union Avenue. “We
were the poorest welfare cheats there ever
was,” Canada wrote in his 1995 memoir-
manifesto, Fist Stick Knife Gun. One of
four brothers in a single-parent household,
Canada knew he was diferent: He was placed
in honors classes in grade school, apart from
the other kids on the block. Yet he hewed to
the honor code of the street, fghting when
challenged (and sometimes when not). Ten,
he got a break: a move to the suburbs to live
with his grandparents. Canada escaped.
Educated at Bowdoin College in Maine,
Canada earned a graduate degree in educa-
tion at Harvard in 1975. In 1983, afer a stint
teaching at and eventually leading a school
for troubled youth in Boston, he returned
to New York City and began work at the
Rheedlen Foundation, a nonproft that aimed
to reduce truancy in Harlem.
At Rheedlen, Canada started to form the
ideas that would become the HCZ fabric.
One passion was teaching a weekly tae kwon
do class, where respect, discipline, order and
focus were both cultivated and required. But
more students wanted to take tae kwon do
than could sign up; a long waitlist formed.
Inevitably, some were lef out. Over time,
this became a motif: Tere were
more children in need than
there were programs and classes
to serve them. Canada grew
increasingly frustrated with
Rheedlen’s inability to reach a
broad swath of Harlem’s kids.
He came to believe that un-
less every child received ample
support, the cycle of poverty that has long
hobbled Harlem would never be broken.
Canada worked with and eventually
replaced Rheedlen director Richard Murphy,
who joined the Dinkins administration
as commissioner of youth services. As
commissioner, Murphy championed the
creation of Beacon community centers,
which were sited in public schools and meant
to provide afer-hours community resources
and academic and social supports to local
youth. With Murphy’s authority and Canada’s
leadership, Rheedlen’s afer-school and anti-
truancy programs evolved to become the
city’s frst Beacon centers.
At about the same time, Children’s Defense
Fund (CDF) founder and president Marian
Wright Edelman convened a new group, the
Black Community Crusade for Children,
and invited Canada to be part of it. Te
group met every year at the rural-Tennessee
farm of Roots author Alex Haley. Even as
Canada found solace in the gathering of like-
minded leaders, his discouragement grew:
Te problems they all recognized as critical
threats to poor, urban youth were only
increasing in the wake of rising gun violence,
the ready availability of crack cocaine,
growing rates of incarceration and abysmally
low academic achievement in America’s
poorest communities.
Te Children’s Defense Fund (whose board
Canada now chairs) articulated a disturbing
cradle-to-prison pipeline, by which urban
Read an exclusive Q&A
with Geoffrey Canada.
Tempestt Tucker, a
student in a ninth-
grade English class.
Schools were a late
addition to the “cradle-
to-college” pipeline.
Continued on p.12
“If you hit 65 percent of the population, that’s the tipping point.”
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 10
Charter Schools
Promise Academies
Admission is mainly by lottery,
conducted when students are 3
years old; admission to the school
includes an invitation to enroll in
Harlem Gems, HCZ’s intensive pre-
kindergarten program. Students
have an extended school day and
year, with classes running until
early August. Promise Academy I,
launched in 2004, will eventually
cover kindergarten through 12th
grade but currently has students
in grades K through 6, 9 and 10.
The school’s elementary, middle
and high school divisions oper-
ate separately, each with its own
principal. Promise Academy II,
located several blocks away and
operating since 2005, currently
has kindergarten to fourth grade
but will eventually have grades K
through 12.
Saturday Academy
Gives extra support in English
and math to Promise Academy

Early Childhood
The Baby College
An early intervention program
for expectant parents and
parents of children up to 3 years
old. The nine-week parenting
workshop emphasizes early-
childhood development and
reading to infants and children,
while discouraging corporal

The Three-Year-Old Journey
A Saturday workshop for parents
whose children will enter pre-K
the following year. The program
emphasizes developmental
stages and language skills.
Harlem Gems
Pre-K for 4-year-olds with a 4-to-1
student-teacher ratio. The re-
ported expenditure per student is
$13,500, twice that of Head Start.
Targeting Youth
Harlem Peacemakers
In conjunction with AmeriCorps,
this program trains college-age
interns to offer in-classroom sup-
port to young children, supervise
them during the school day,
provide after-school program-
Canada’s Provinces
Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children’s Zone encompasses an
array of programs serving different needs and populations
The Harlem Children’s Zone’s headquarters anchors the intersection of 125th Street and Madison Avenue.
www.citylimits.org 11
ming and coordinate outreach
to parents at seven elementary
schools in Harlem as well as at the
Promise Academy.
A Cut Above
An after-school program for mid-
dle schoolers who do not attend
the Promise Academy Charter
Schools. Academic support and
high school and college prep are
TRUCE (The Renaissance Univer-
sity for Community Education)
An arts education and media
literacy program for youth ages 12
to 19 who live in the Zone. Those in
the program produce a public ac-
cess TV show called The Real Deal.
Learn to Earn
An after-school program for high
school juniors and seniors with a
focus on academic skills, college
prep and job readiness. Students
are paid weekly stipends for good
grades and good attendance at
school and after-school programs.
College Success Office
College admissions support
program for youth who gradu-
ate from high school and are
involved in one of six other HCZ
programs, such as Learn to Earn
and Beacon. The office offers sup-
port through the college search
and admissions process and
throughout former students’ col-
lege careers.
Centers that offer additional
afternoon, evening and weekend
services to students. Programs
include tutoring, drug counseling,
pregnancy prevention and social
Neighborhood Needs
Employment and
Technology Center
Provides access to computers,
technology classes and employ-
ment services for community
residents of all ages.
Community Pride
The community-organizing
program of HCZ organizes tenants
and block associations. It has
helped tenant organizations build
capacity by converting city-
owned buildings to tenant co-ops,
according to HCZ reports, as well
as set up community-building
events such as block parties and
film festivals.
Single Stop
Offers financial and legal services
to Zone residents.
Income Tax Consulting
Individualized, one-time counsel-
ing on income tax preparation
has garnered millions in gains,
say Zone officials.
Health and
Fitness Initiatives
TRUCE Fitness and Nutrition Center
Offers free dance, martial arts,
fitness and nutrition classes as
well as academic support for
students in grades 5 through 8.
It began as an effort to address
obesity in the community.
Asthma Initiative
A collaboration with Harlem
Children’s Zone, Harlem Hospital,
Columbia University and
other community partners, the
initiative surveys families in the
Zone to determine who suffers
from asthma, then works with
individual households to help
them manage the disease.
Healthy Living Initiative
Seeks to address the problem of
obesity in the community and pro-
mote physically-active lifestyles
and healthy eating habits among
the children of central Harlem.
Harlem Children’s Health Project
A health clinic located inside the
Promise Academy I middle school
provides on-the-spot medical
support and dental and mental-
health services to students. The
intent is to address the immedi-
ate health needs of children who
have no health insurance and to
remove possible health-related
barriers to learning.
Preventive Services
The Family Development Program
Conducts family assessments and
refers families to mental-health
The Family Support Center
Provides group sessions on par-
enting and anger management,
crisis intervention, referrals and
The Midtown Family Place
Provides preventive services to
45 families in Chelsea and Hell’s
Kitchen; also runs a food pantry
and a literacy program.
Project CLASS (Clean Living
and Staying Sober)
Provides referrals for drug abuse
treatment and monitors sobriety
for families at risk of foster care
Truancy Prevention
Provides supportive services for 90
families in Manhattan Valley and
central Harlem. Includes domestic
violence and parenting support
— Maria Muentes
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 12
youth, most ofen boys of color, are far more likely to
spend time in prison than to enter—much less graduate
from—college. Canada conceived an alternate pipeline,
a cradle-to-college “conveyor belt” that would insulate
Harlem’s children from the ills that long plagued the com-
munity—one that would, once a child was in the pipeline,
guide that child inexorably, inevitably, toward high school
graduation and into college.
Canada’s connections allowed him to marry his ideas
to money. Te CDF’s Edelman got Canada appointed
to the board of the Robin Hood Foundation, which was
created by hedge funder Paul Tudor Jones II to channel
corporate generosity into the city’s neediest schools.
Trough Robin Hood and via Edelman’s networks,
Canada met billionaire hedge-fund magnate Stanley
Druckenmiller—a fellow Bowdoin alum—and other
fnancial powerhouses. Canada was already friends with
current American Express CEO Ken Chenault from their
undergraduate years at Bowdoin.
Te economic disparities that plagued Harlem when
Canada started work at the Rheedlen Foundation were
stark: According to William Julius Wilson’s landmark
1987 book Te Truly Disadvantaged, only 38 percent of
African-American men in Harlem were employed in
1984, compared with 82 percent a generation earlier,
in 1965. Even the economic boom of the 1990s largely
bypassed Harlem; about 40,000 residents lived below
the poverty line in both 1989 and 1999. Employment
remained relatively constant, 49 percent in 1989 and 51
percent a decade later.
Beyond economics and employment, academic
achievement among Harlem’s children consistently lagged
behind that of kids growing up below, say, 96th Street.
And the defcits perpetuated themselves: Parents who’d
done poorly in school passed subpar verbal and reading
skills on to their children. As Canada puts it, “Te gap
starts at Day One—and it never gets any closer,” unless
children have more time to learn.
Te funders soon realized Canada was unusually
dedicated and extraordinarily agile in his ability to move
from the boardroom to the tenement with fnesse. “Te
more they got to know him, they realized what a uniquely
talented, dedicated person he is,” Norman Fruchter,
director of the community involvement program at the
Annenberg Institute for School Reform, says. “Tey
pledged X million if he came up with a plan to transform
Harlem. Tat was the origin of the Harlem Children’s
Zone.” Druckenmiller and others helped Canada write a
business plan; Rheedlen became the HCZ.
Two succinct concepts defne the Harlem Children’s
Zone. Te frst is “the pipeline,” a metaphor for the matrix
of services and programs designed to usher local children
from birth to college. Te second, “the tipping point,”
describes a milestone in the neighborhood’s development
where positive change becomes inevitable.
Te cradle-to-college pipeline is actually designed to
begin before birth: Expectant parents are recruited into
Baby College, a nine-weekend workshop that teaches
basic parenting skills and discipline strategies and aims
to instill the importance of early-childhood enrichments
like reading aloud to babies and toddlers. Children enter
the pipeline in preschool, via the Tree-Year-Old Journey,
Get Ready for Pre-K or, for those who’ve won the lottery
for slots in the two Promise Academy charter schools, the
intensive Harlem Gems pre-kindergarten. Te Promise
Academies (Academy I was launched in 2004, Academy
II in 2005) themselves are designed as K-12 schools,
although neither has all 13 grades in place yet.
HCZ brings in older teens through its TRUCE media
and ftness eforts, its Peacemakers school volunteer
program, Employment and Technology workshops and
Canada conceived an alternate pipeline, a cradle-
to-college “conveyor belt” that would insulate
Harlem’s children from the ills that long plagued
the community—one that would, once a child was
in the pipeline, guide that child inexorably, inevitably,
toward high school graduation and into college.
Continued from p.9
www.citylimits.org 13































t W
t W












t W



















t S



City University
of New York The
City College
Hamilton Grange
National Memorial
Garvey Park
North General
In the Zone
Te physical footprint of
the Harlem Children’s Zone
1. Harlem Children’s Zone
35 East 125th Street
2. The Baby College
(not shown)
2037- 39 Seventh Avenue
3. Booker T. Washington Beacon
(not shown)
103 West 107th Street
4. College Success Office
147 St. Nicholas Avenue
5. Community Pride
157 West 122nd Street
6. Countee Cullen Community
242 West 144th Street
7. Employment and Technology
304 West 117th Street
8. Family Development Program
689 Lenox Avenue
9. Family Support Center
207-211 Lenox Avenue
10. Harlem Gems
41 West 117th Street
11. Harlem Gems Head Start
60 West 117th Street
12. Harlem Peacemakers — South
2031 Fifth Avenue
13. Harlem Peacemakers — North
1916 Park Avenue
14. Learn to Earn
1916 Park Avenue
15. Midtown Family Place
(not shown)
457 West 51st Street
16. Promise Academy I Upper
Elementary, Middle School
& High School
35 East 125th Street
17. Promise Academy I
Lower Elementary
175 West 134th Street
18. Promise Academy II
2005 Madison Avenue
19. Truancy Prevention
(Project CLASS)
309 West 134th Street
20. TRUCE Media Project
147 St. Nicholas Avenue
21. TRUCE Fitness and
Nutrition Center
147 St. Nicholas Avenue
The Harlem Children’s Zone covers 97 square blocks, from 116th Street to 143rd
Street and from Madison Avenue to Frederick Douglass Boulevard.
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 14
the College Success program, which ofers high school se-
niors at six area schools workshops on college admission
and fnancial aid and helps students secure internships
and community service placements.
Adults who live within the Zone’s boundaries gain
access to community-building resources; more than
two dozen city-owned properties have become tenant-
owned co-ops through HCZ-led organizing, and HCZ-
supplied tax guidance has secured millions in tax credits
and rebates for local residents, the organization says.
Community-wide HCZ initiatives harness local hospital
and social-service resources to fght asthma and obesity;
provide medical, dental and mental-health services for
Promise Academy students; and aim to keep struggling
families intact—with their children out of foster care.
Tey are all part of the Zone’s score of programs, which
employ a staf of 1,500 and involve about 8,000 local
youth at a per capita cost of $5,000 a year.
According to Canada’s tipping point theory, once
Harlem reaches a 65 percent level of success—academic,
economic, social and health—future success and academ-
ic achievement will be the natural outcome. At that point,
what Canada characterizes as a positive “contamination”
will take place: Everyone will begin to beneft from HCZ,
whether he or she is part of the schools, the afer-school
and youth employment programs, the community devel-
opment eforts and the myriad other projects that exist
in the Zone—or not. Tat tipping point, and the osmosis
of benefts from the
few to the many, has
been part of Canada’s
thinking for nearly 30
years. It is, however,
not a fxed target.
“Tere’s no known
science to support 65
[percent],” says Anne
Kubisch, director of the Aspen Institute’s Roundtable on
Community Change, who has studied HCZ and other
place-based initiatives. “It’s not like there’s scientifc evi-
dence that if you hit 65 percent of the population, that’s
the tipping point. But that’s their theory.”
Canada began putting the theory into practice in 1994
with community centers and a blocked-of weekday “play
street” that revived a drug-steeped, bullet-scarred block
of West 144th Street. Today, that same block houses the
Countee Cullen Community Center, a teen center, and a
nursery school, all under HCZ auspices. Since 1994, the
Zone has grown from 24 to 97 square blocks of central
Harlem, in a rough rectangle from 116th Street up to
143rd Street, bounded by Frederick Douglass Boulevard
and Madison Avenue. In 2000, the area was home to
around 70,000 people.
Physical expansion was supported by exponential
fnancial growth: Te annual budget has grown from $6
million in 1994 to $74 million in 2008. In fscal 2007,
HCZ paid $7.2 million in salaries and wages. Canada
earned $494,000. George Khadoun, the chief operating
ofcer, earned $217,600; development director Mindy
Miller was paid $266,000, or slightly more than both
Promise Academy principals combined. Consultants
billed for more than $1.4 million. Te chess tutor received
$66,000 to $75,000 a year; $105,000 went to Wyzant
Tutoring, a national tutor-placement service; and the
organization spent $175,000 on travel. Te Zone’s in-kind
support for the Promise Academy I (which leases its
space, unlike Promise Academy II, which is located in a
public school building) slashes the school’s rental costs
from an estimated $35 per square foot in 2003 to $2.70
per square foot.
HCZ’s physical presence is easy to see. Take the inter-
section of Madison and 125th. On one corner, an empty
shell of a building languishes. On another, there’s a row of
shops—some vacant, others full—topped by the derelict
Mason and Trowel ballroom. But directly across the
street, dominating the block and the local skyline with six
spanking new stories of steel, glass and brick, sits the Har-
lem Children’s Zone headquarters, a $44 million structure
that exudes both permanence and wealth.
HCZ reports that its programs serve more than 17,000
local residents. Its schools enroll about 1,200 students—
a fraction of the number of children in the neighborhood
but still substantial for an aspect of the HCZ that, at
the outset, was an aferthought. While the Promise
Academies and the early-childhood programs that
feed them now command the greatest public attention,
the Harlem Children’s Zone didn’t originally envision
running its own schools.
Instead, back in 1994, the weight was squarely on social
services; schools were out of the picture. “We had com-
mitted ourselves to not going into that business in the
early ‘90s,” says longtime treasurer Mitch Kurz. “We didn’t
want to have to deal with the old [Board of Education]
bureaucracy.” Schools meant risk: If the program quality
sufered, Kurz says, “the brand would be attached to some-
thing mediocre, and that would hurt the brand and hurt
our ability to make money” to support the programs.
Working with the local schools in the 1990s meant
wrangling with local school boards, which were variously
indebted to, or controlled by, local politicians. “Geof
Canada was very soured on the inability of the public
school system to educate Harlem children, or children
A video report on the HCZ
from Jay DeDapper. Check
out www.citylimits.org/HCZ
www.citylimits.org 15
of color, period,” says Annenberg’s Fruchter.
“Tere were two villains: the UFT [United
Federation of Teachers], which Geof held
responsible for what teachers didn’t do and
for being embedded in local politics, and
the local politicians,” who controlled school
boards, as had long been the case in Harlem’s
District 5.
During its frst decade, the HCZ pipeline
grew more robust, but the results Canada
and his team sought, in terms of academic
achievement and progress out of poverty, did
not materialize. “We realized this hole in our
service provision, particularly in District 5,
and the hole was in the schools,” says Kurz.
Too few children were succeeding—Canada
felt there had to be a way to scale up the efort
and save all the kids, instead of a handful.
Canada’s frustration with the city’s public
schools continued undimmed. By January
2002, when Bloomberg began his frst
term, Canada had worked with fve schools
chancellors. But in the summer of 2002, for
the frst time since the Boss Tweed era, the
mayor secured control of the city’s schools.
With Bloomberg’s blessing, new schools
chancellor Joel Klein cultivated vigorous
private support for public schools from
corporations and nonprofts.
“Te charter school movement changed
the landscape,” says Kurz, a multimillionaire
who, afer a career in advertising, now serves
as HCZ treasurer and works with the Bronx
Center for Science and Mathematics, a small
high school where he teaches math and
serves as a college adviser. “Te mayor and
the chancellor were both pro-change, and [an
HCZ] board with pre-existing relationships,
particularly with the mayor, enabled us to get
in front of the chancellor.” (See “Charting a
Course,”p. 21)
Klein met with Canada early in his tenure
as chancellor and suggested that Canada
bypass the traditional open-enrollment
public schools and open his own charter
school, which would become central to the
Harlem Children’s Zone pipeline of cradle-
to-college programs. Canada and his team
wrote a proposal, recruited teachers and
administrators, and organized an admissions
lottery that meant door-knocking across
the Zone’s 24 blocks. In 2004, the Promise
Academy elementary and middle schools
opened their doors.

Kelly Downing leads
a ninth-grade English
class at Promise
Academy I, a school
launched in 2004 and
now at the heart of the
HCZ model.
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 16
Students in the Harlem Children’s Zone achieve the
results they do, Canada says, because they invest more:
Tey invest more actual time in the classroom, with
a far longer school day and a school year that begins
in September and ends in early August. All Promise
Academy students are in school about 60 percent longer
than average public school students. Struggling students
can spend twice as many hours in school as the average
kid—in class and in tutoring or in small-group before-
and afer-school instruction. HCZ’s corporate and school
leaders say they hold each child to high standards and
expect teachers to do “whatever it takes” to achieve
success. And the charters invest more money per child
per year—nearly $19,000 in 2008—than the $14,525 the
city spends on children who attend general-education
programs in traditional open-enrollment public schools.
Te fnancial investment starts well before the frst
formal day of kindergarten. Te Harlem Children’s Zone
spends almost as much per child in its Harlem Gems
preschool, $13,500, as the city spends on a typical older
student. Gems tykes are carefully cultivated and groomed
for school; they’re in the Promise Academy pipeline
already, because Harlem Children’s Zone planners hold
kindergarten lotteries when a cohort of students is 2 or
3 years old—efectively holding seats until they are old
enough to attend kindergarten. In addition, HCZ spends
$5,000 per child each year for afer-school and extra-
curricular programs for students who don’t attend the
Promise Academies but live within the Harlem Children’s
Zone. Some of the money goes to direct payment of
middle school children, for good grades and participation
in HCZ programs.
Te school day begins at Promise Academy I and II at
8 a.m., even for the youngest students. At Harlem Gems,
the lottery admission pre-K program that feeds into the
Promise Academies, the day stretches from 8 a.m. to 4
p.m. Afer-school programs, which include 4- and 5-year-
olds, run until 6 or 7 p.m. Tere’s Saturday school every
weekend, and some teachers and students meet as early as
7 a.m. for intensive test preparation.
“Every single child has to make it,” says Shana Brodnax,
senior manager of early-childhood programs at the HCZ.
“It’s an entirely no-excuses-accepted policy that takes an al-
most incomprehensible amount of resources and support.”
“Failure is not permitted,” vowed Canada, speaking to a
public gathering in Springfeld, Mass., in November. “No
excuses. Failure is not permitted, because funding is tied
to success, not failure.”
In the world of education, success has many defni-
tions. But the HCZ schools are simply too new to be able
to measure success in the vocabulary of graduation or
college enrollment—no students have yet graduated from
the Promise Academy’s high school, so there’s no gradua-
tion rate to discuss. Regents scores from 2009 are encour-
aging but preliminary, as only one cohort of students has
taken the exams. Nearly 500 young adults who partici-
pated in nonschool HCZ programs are now in college,
but not much is known about that group.
Instead, at the Promise Academies, success has an ex-
plicit benchmark: “We are judged by the New York State
tests,” says HCZ spokesperson Marty Lipp. “We literally
live or die by that test.”
Like all other public school students, those at the Prom-
ise Academies take statewide assessments every year. Te
Promise Academy schools have recently posted strong
results in math: In 2009, 87 percent of Promise Academy
eighth-graders scored at or above grade level, compared
with 61 percent overall in District 5. On the state math
test, 91 percent of Asian students and 86 percent of white
students citywide scored at or above grade level, as did
a mere 62 percent of black students in the city’s schools.
Since the Promise Academy is 91 percent black, its high
scores suggest a far narrower racial achievement gap than
might otherwise be expected.
On the 2009 English-language arts (ELA) test, 57 per-
cent of Promise Academy eighth-graders met or exceeded
grade-level standards, compared with 46 percent in
District 5 at large and 50 percent of black students in New
York City. While HCZ students' scores exceed city aver-
ages for black students, a substantial and signifcant race
gap persists: Citywide, 76 percent of both white and Asian
eighth-graders scored at or above grade level. (Promise
Academy eighth-graders bested their District 5 counter-
parts in 2007 and 2008 on math and English, as well.)
In April 2009, Harvard economists Roland Fryer and
Will Dobbie released a study asserting that “the Harlem
Children’s Zone is enormously efective at increasing the
achievement of the poorest minority children,” based
on their analysis of 2007 state test score data. In middle
school, they documented gains that “reverse the black-
white achievement gap in mathematics.” Grade school
results are even stronger, Fryer and Dobbie say, and “close
the racial achievement gap in both subjects [math and
English-language arts].”
Test scores are the single most powerful measure in the
city’s annual progress reports about each school. Yet both
the city’s Department of Education and New York State
“Failure is not permitted, because funding is tied to success, not failure.”
www.citylimits.org 17
Regents chancellor Merryl Tisch
recognize that the Level 3 score—
widely translated as “at grade level”
or “profcient,” which is where most
HCZ students scored—does not
actually predict academic success.
In fact, students who score Level
3 in eighth grade have only a 52
percent chance of graduating from
high school in four years, accord-
ing to Tisch and analysts at the city
Department of Education.
Fryer and Dobbie based their
conclusions on gains made by a sin-
gle class on a single test in a single
year. In other years, and for other
grades, state-exam scores at the
Promise Academy have not always
been impressive. Te ffh-graders
scored lower than the district aver-
age on the 2009 math test. Only a
third of the school’s eighth-graders
were at grade level on the 2008
English test.
On nonstate exams, the results
are even more mixed. On the Iowa
Test of Basic Skills (ITBS), the
eighth-graders’ average score was
41, well below the HCZ-set target
of 50 and a score that correlates
to an achievement ranking on the
33rd percentile nationally. (ITBS
scores since 2007 have risen but still
do not meet HCZ-set goals.) On
the TerraNova English assessment,
HCZ’s goal was for 65 percent—the
tipping point—of students to score
80 percent or above, a goal that
the school has not yet been able to
achieve. A similar target was set for
math; again, the organization’s test-
ing goals were unmet, despite three-
month delays in testing that should
have translated into extra gains.
Te fact is, any test one looks at,
whatever result is shown, is of limited
use in judging whether the Prom-
ise Academy model works or not.
Each Promise Academy test cohort
comprised fewer than 100 students—
a fairly small pool from which to
conclude that the project is brilliant
or a bust. (See “Test Pattern,” p.22)
Te Charter
Te pros and
conficts of a
schooling revolution

The charter school movement has
been gathering steady steam since
the late 1990s in New York City.
Nearly 100 are in operation today,
predominantly in parts of the city
long-plagued by poverty and low
academic achievement. Central
Harlem’s District 5 is no exception:
20 percent of local schools are
charters. More are coming. New
York State education leaders said in
December that they support open-
ing 200 new charter schools. Mayor
Bloomberg’s current five-year capital
plan would allocate $200 million for
the new charters.
Charter schools are public schools
that are exempt from some of the
constraints under which other
schools operate. Their teachers typi-
cally do not work under a union con-
tract, principals have more autono-
my over curriculum and instruction
and their students can be selected
by lottery. (Most other public schools
have open enrollment.)
Proponents contend the schools’
ability to innovate produces bet-
ter results. In a 2009 study of New
York City’s charter schools, Stanford
University academic and charter
advocate Caroline Hoxby con-
cluded that charter school students
make long-term gains that signifi-
cantly narrow (but do not close) “the
Scarsdale-Harlem achievement
gap.” Results like those have made
charters increasingly appealing to
policymakers from the left and right.
President Obama’s secretary of edu-
cation, Arne Duncan, has called for a
$52 million increase in charter school
funding in the 2010 federal budget.
But the reports of success in the
charter experiment have met with
some skepticism. When the CREDO
institute, also based at Stanford
University, analyzed data from
70 percent of the nation’s charter
schools, it said only a fraction, 17
percent, excel, while 37 percent post
lower outcomes than do traditional
publics. Reports from the New York
City Department of Education’s char-
ter office say that charter students
do not make as much academic
progress each year as their peers in
traditional public schools—and note
the dramatic difference in high-need
populations between school models,
with open-enrollment publics serving
far more special needs students and
English-language learners than the
lottery admission charters.
The rivalry between the charter
school and public school models is
not abstract: It’s a very real competi-
tion for teaching talent, students,
attention, money and—in New York
City, anyway—space. The Depart-
ment of Education is locating more
of the expanding universe of charter
schools in public school buildings,
cutting into space that noncharter
kids use.
The charter debate provokes
philosophical questions too, says
Pedro Noguera, executive director
of the Metropolitan Center for Urban
Education and an NYU professor.
“The regimentation, the silence and
the emphasis on control concern
me. Middle-class kids are never
treated that way,” he says. Many
charters, including the Promise
Academy, seek to cultivate “char-
acter” and mold behavior to more
traditional, middle-class standards
— what some describe as a kind of
paternalistic, top-down imposition
of mainstream culture. “They are
preparing kids to be followers, not
leaders — to conform, not innovate,”
says Noguera. “I support what Geoff
Canada is doing — his ambition, his
dedication, his commitment. He is
a sincere, dedicated individual. It
doesn’t mean that everything they do
is right, though.”
— Helen Zelon
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 18
Above: David Rosen leads vocal
practice in his and Clinton Moore’s
fourth-grade music class.

Below: Veronica Thomas oversees a 10th-
grade global studies class. Teacher turnover
at the HCZ schools has been significant.
www.citylimits.org 19
And comparing the student populations at
Promise Academy with those in the nearby regular
public schools is an apples-to-oranges matchup:
Te HCZ schools serve signifcantly fewer high-
need learners, like special education students or
kids who are learning English. For instance, only 6
percent of the third graders who took the 2007-08
English test at the Promise Academy had disabili-
ties, while disabled kids made up 30, 40, even 60
percent of the test-taking pool in open-enrollment
schools in the district. Only a handful of students at
the Promise Academies are English-language learn-
ers, compared with 14 percent in schools citywide.
And the students who attend HCZ are selected
by lottery, which may in itself shape the schools’
population: Unlike open-enrollment neighborhood
schools, the lottery requires a measure of parental
initiative that benefts HCZ students in other ways.
“One has to take the … evidence with a grain of
salt,” Fryer and Dobbie caution. “Children who
participate in the HCZ are not a random sample
of students. …Students served by HCZ are
likely to be self-selected, and results that
compare [them] to other children in
Harlem may be biased.”
Harlem Children’s Zone school
leaders, however, are adding more than
a grain of salt. Faced with dramatically
diferent testing outcomes between
state tests and the Iowa exam, they
decided to fnd an alternative to the
Iowa. According to the organization’s
2008-09 annual report, “Two years ago,
a decision was made to deemphasize
the [Iowa test] in order to focus on
New York state standards and the skills
needed for success on state assessments; thus the
school is looking for another nationally recognized
standardized test which aligns more closely with
New York State standards.”
Being able to display the right kind of results is
a matter of survival. “We are bottom-line kind of
people. We live by the numbers. Show us the out-
come. Tat’s how we’re measured—that’s how we
measure you,” said HCZ supporter Ken Chenault
of American Express at the November “Chang-
ing the Odds” conference. “Te Harlem Children’s
Zone thinks about product value, just like they do
at Apple, just like they do at J. Crew, just like we do
at my company. A strong brand can bring fnancial
assets—a promise of goods and services, based
on trust.”
At the Promise Academy, school leaders and
teachers work backward from the test score goals
set by Canada and the HCZ leadership: As Paul
Tough related in Whatever it Takes, disturbingly
low test scores in the school’s frst years dictated
a results-oriented attack. “Te whole school was
going to be concentrating on one thing: raising the
test scores,” Tough wrote. During the period from
2004 through 2008 when Tough reported on the
school, test prep began before school, at 7 or 7:30
a.m. for some students, with cash incentives for
attendance. Schoolwide test prep started in Septem-
ber, Tough reported, with “morning test-prep ses-
sions, a test-prep block during the school day, test
prep in the afer-school program, and test prep on
Saturdays.” Over the 11-month school year, focus
persisted on the state tests.
Every week, teachers tell City Limits, students
took practice tests, using previous state exams as
study guides. “We used exactly what people were
going to see on the exam,” says a former math
teacher, to make sure students were “thoroughly
inculcated with test sophistication, test practice. So
that when they ‘got on the feld,’ they’d be ready.”
“It’s all about the numbers,” another former
Promise Academy math teacher tells City Limits.
“Everyone felt the pressure. People got bonuses
for their performance. Tere was a synergy there.
It wasn’t so clear-cut, that if X children fail, I’m
out of a job. But you knew, at any time, you could
be released.”
HCZ does not deny its focus on testing. “We do
work with the kids to prep for state tests—during
school, afer school and weekends,” says HCZ’s
Lipp. “We are judged by the state tests. We have
to pay attention to it.”
One part of the HCZ experience that is not
“One has to take the evidence
with a grain of salt. Children who
participate in the HCZ are not a
random sample of students. …
Results that compare [them] to other
children in Harlem may be biased.”
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 20
“The Harlem Children’s Zone
thinks about product value, just
like they do at Apple, just like they
do at J. Crew. … A strong brand
can bring financial assets—a
promise of goods and services,
based on trust.”
Above: Student Cheik Niang on the
recorder. Class sizes at the Zone’s schools
are significantly smaller than at other
neighborhood schools. Continued on p.23
emphasized in media coverage is the stunning
rate of teacher turnover the Promise Acade-
mies have posted. In 2006-07, a third of Prom-
ise Academy I’s teachers lef or were dismissed.
Te year before 48 percent were fred or quit.
Only one of the original teachers is still with
the Promise Academy middle school.
Some teachers elected to leave, like those
who told City Limits that working with data
took precedence at the school over working
with children. Others were fred. One teacher,
who few in from Hawaii to teach at the Prom-
ise Academy, was let go before her household
furnishings arrived by shipping container.
Efom Ukoidemabia, the school’s former
math coach, stepped into a teaching role afer
an instructor resigned, and was summarily
dismissed. “Before I was fred, I was never
observed in the classroom. I was never ofered
feedback on my performance. Tere was no
paper trail, and there was no guidance. I was
given no chance to improve over time,” he
tells City Limits—all steps that would have
been in place if the school were bound by the
sort of union rules and contracts that charter
school proponents contend inhibit educa-
tional innovation.
On the afernoon City Limits was permitted
to visit the Promise Academy I school at Har-
lem Children’s Zone headquarters, the teach-
ers encountered were predominantly young;
about half had not taught school previously
in New York City (or elsewhere). Two came
to teaching via the New York City Teaching
Fellows program and Teach for America,
alternate-certifcation programs that bring
bright, young college grads into the public
schools, with mixed long-term outcomes.
Classrooms were clean, bright and bare-
bones modest: Tey were thinly supplied,
with little student-made artwork, writing
or other projects on display and limited
classroom resources like the libraries and
manipulative materials ofen seen in public
school classrooms. Most ofen, students were
arranged in old-school rows of desks, with the
teacher’s desk at the front of the room, but the
instruction was ofen energetic and engaging:
In one fourth-grade music lesson, the teacher,
who had drawn a cartoon self-portrait
on a whiteboard before the lesson, wiped
away an ear in protest afer a cacophonous,
enthusiastic recorder display. “Put the ear
www.citylimits.org 21
1998: New York State Charter
Schools Act is passed under Gover-
nor George Pataki, authorizing the
opening and subsequent renewal
of new schools but setting a limit of
100 schools statewide.
1999: Sisulu-Walker Charter School,
New York State’s first, is established
on West 115th Street. The John A.
Reisenbach Foundation partners
with the Learning Project, a non-
profit educational-management
organization, to found the John
Reisenbach Charter School.
2001: The Bush administration’s No
Child Left Behind Act is passed, al-
lowing students in poorly perform-
ing public schools to enroll in char-
ter schools and compelling failing
schools to restructure, perhaps into
charter schools. Harlem Day Charter
School is established by Sheltering
Arms Children’s Service and real-
estate tycoon Benjamin V. Lambert.

2003: KIPP STAR College Prep
Charter School opens in Harlem.
Former teacher and businesswom-
an Deborah Kenny founds the first
of three Harlem Village Academy
charter schools committed to
“banishing bureaucracy.” Schools
chancellor Joel Klein describes
Kenny as a “star.”
2004: The Harlem Children’s Zone
Promise Academy I charter school
opens. Leonard Goldberg, formerly
an administrator at a Westchester
County school, establishes Op-
portunity Charter School on West
113th Street following the “inclusion
model.” Its student body is roughly
half general-education students
and half students with learning
disabilities who learn in classes
side-by-side. The John Reisenbach
school’s charter is revoked because
of poor standardized-test scores.
2005: In his re-election campaign,
Mayor Bloomberg pledges to elimi-
nate the cap on charter schools
and double the number of charter
schools in NYC to 100 by 2009. P.S.
861 Future Leaders Institute on West
122nd Street converts to a charter
school in July, and the Harlem
Link Charter School and Harlem
Children’s Zone Promise Academy
II open in September.
2006: Democracy Preparatory
Charter School is founded on West
133rd Street by teacher Seth An-
drews. Harlem Success Academy,
the first of the Success Charter
Network that planned to expand
to 40 schools over the next decade,
is founded by former city council-
woman and education committee
chair Eva Moskowitz, a reformer
and adversary of the teacher’s
union, which she claims under-
mined her bid for borough presi-
dent in 2005.
2007: Britain’s Prince Charles; his
wife Camilla; and British ambas-
sador David Manning tour the
Harlem Children’s Zone in January,
joined by Geoffrey Canada and Lt.
Gov. David Paterson. Prince Charles
speaks to school officials about
incorporating the Harlem Children
Zone’s educational concepts into
his 16 UK foundations. After years
of pressure, state legislators vote
in April to raise the charter school
cap to 200 with 50 of the new char-
ters reserved for New York City. As
part of President Bush’s campaign
to pressure lawmakers to reau-
thorize No Child Left Behind, Bush,
Education Secretary Margaret
Spellings and Rep. Charles Rangel
tour Harlem Village Academy. Bush
declares, “We can see that No Child
Left Behind is working nationwide.”
The visit precedes National Charter
Schools Week. South Carolina Demo-
crat and House majority whip Rep.
James Clyburn visits Harlem Success
Academy in November, speaking
out in support of charter schools.
2008: St. Hope Leadership Acad-
emy on West 134th Street and
Harlem Success Academy 2, 3 and
4 open. Cindy McCain, wife of
John McCain, visits Sisulu-Walker
in June to observe the school’s best
practices. “I chose to come here
because of the school’s high record
of achievement,” McCain notes.
In August, Bloomberg and Klein
announce the opening of 18 new
charter schools in the fall, more
than the city has ever opened in
a single year, bringing the total
number of NYC charters to 78, with
24,000 students enrolled.
2009: In July, police are called to
P.S. 123, which houses Harlem
Success Academy, after movers
arrive with orders to make way for
the charter school’s expansion and
P.S. 123 teachers block the workers.
After an hour-long standoff, DOE
officials declare there has been a
“mistake in communications” and
stop the move. In his bid for a third
term, Bloomberg again pledges
to double the number of charter
schools in the city by creating 100
new schools—which would give
charters 100,000 school seats, or
nearly 10 percent of all public
school seats in New York City—
by 2013.

Charting a Course
A timeline of Harlem’s charter schools
— Samia Shafi
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 22
KIPP Infinity
Harlem Village Academy
Frederick Douglass Academy
Democracy Prep
New York State
Knowledge & Power Prep IV
Thurgood Marshall Academy
HCZ Promise Academy I
New York City
Manhattan District 5
Choir Academy of Harlem
Knowledge & Power Prep II
I.S. 195
Academy for Social Action
I.S. 286
Acad. of Collaborative Education
Powell Middle School
0 20 40 60 80 100 (%)
KIPP Infinity
Harlem Village Academy
Democracy Prep
Frederick Douglass Academy
Knowledge & Power Prep IV
HCZ Promise Academy I
New York State
Thurgood Marshall Academy
New York City
I.S. 286
Choir Academy of Harlem
Manhattan District 5
Academy for Social Action
I.S. 195
Acad. of Collaborative Education
Knowledge & Power Prep II
Powell Middle School
0 20 40 60 80 100 (%)
Harlem Village Academy
I.S. 195
Choir Academy of Harlem
Frederick Douglass Academy
Manhattan District 5
Knowledge & Power Prep IV
Powell Middle School
Thurgood Marshall Academy
HCZ Promise Academy I
0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 (%)
I.S. 286
I.S. 195
Acad. of Collaborative Education
Knowledge & Power Prep II
Knowledge & Power Prep IV
Manhattan District 5
Academy for Social Action
KIPP Infinity
Choir Academy of Harlem
Powell Middle School
Democracy Prep
Thurgood Marshall Academy
Harlem Village Academy
HCZ Promise Academy I
Frederick Douglass Academy
0 (%) 30 10 20 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
I.S. 195
Powell Middle School
Manhattan District 5
KIPP Infinity
Knowledge & Power Prep IV
Democracy Prep
I.S. 286
Academy for Social Action
Acad. of Collaborative Education
Knowledge & Power Prep II
Choir Academy of Harlem
Frederick Douglass Academy
Thurgood Marshall Academy
Harlem Village Academy
HCZ Promise Academy I
0 (%) 6 2 4 8 10 12 14 16 18 20
Eighth-Grade English Scores
Eighth-Grade Math Scores
Class Size
Free Lunches (percentage of students qualifying)
Limited English Proficiency
On standardized tests in 2009, the Harlem Children’s Zone’s
Promise Academy I fared well compared to most other schools
in its upper Manhattan district (District 5), and rivaled city- and
statewide averages. Other charter schools in District 5 also
posted high marks. But there are significant differences between
the student bodies at the Promise Academy and the other
schools to which it is compared.
Test Pattern
How Harlem’s ‘miracle’ really ranks
Data source: New York State Department of Education
(students scoring at
or above grade level)
(students scoring at
or above grade level)
(students per eighth-grade English class)
(percentage of students
deemed LEP)
www.citylimits.org 23
Continued from p.20
back!” called out one boy, “so you won’t be
Vincent van Gogh!”
Teachers in the classes City Limits visited
ofen worked in pairs, giving the very small
classes of 10 to 16 students additional atten-
tion, discipline and guidance. While some
teachers shushed kids on the stairways or
snapped their fngers at children, expecting
obedience, others coaxed their charges with
humor, like the English teacher who pleaded
with students for details in their essays: “No-
body wants a sandwich without the mayo and
the lettuce.” An essay without color, “that’s
just the meat and the cheese. Tat’s dry.”
Students wear uniforms that wouldn’t
be out of place in parochial schools—gray
plaid skirts and white blouses for the girls,
gray slacks and red vests for the boys, with
high schoolers in khakis and button-downs.
A sign at the building’s entrance prohibits
hats, “durags” and hoodies—streetwear that
doesn’t belong in the classroom.
Te school’s two science labs are not
currently used as labs but as regular class-
rooms—certainly complicating the instruc-
tion of Regents-level science classes like biol-
ogy and chemistry. History students learning
about World War I studied from books that
included Regents and other test preparatory
materials, although their teacher assured City
Limits that they used a textbook on other
days. (We didn’t see any textbooks in use, but
a few were on classroom shelves.) Te gleam-
ing gym, visible from 125
Street through a
wall made of 15 double-height panels of plate
glass, features an HCZ logo on the basketball
court’s maple foor—and 15 automated white-
fabric panels that slide down, like so many
eyelids, when the kids in the gym wave to
passersby on the street.
Most of the teachers who came to—and
lef—the Promise Academies (the second
school, launched a year afer the frst in 2005,
is located a few blocks away on Madison Ave-
nue) bought into Canada’s vision of education
reform. One former stafer recalls crying, she
was so inspired the frst time she heard Can-
ada speak. Ukoidemabia says that becoming
the math coach of the Promise Academy was
a dream afer 15 years teaching in the city’s
public schools. “On a visceral level, I’m an
African male, this is 125th Street—you can’t
get any more Harlem. Tere were these other
African males, from Harvard, Bowdoin—I
was dazzled,” he says. “It was an amazing
opportunity to shape kids—and a $44 million
building. I thought, ‘I want in on this.’ “
But reality was less inspiring. Physical
conditions in the frst years were bad, some
teachers say. Discipline, an initial obstacle
for many Promise Academy teachers, was a
challenge for leadership as well, says HCZ
treasurer Kurz. “We developed a lot of grand
plans, educational philosophies,” he recalls,
“and we overlooked sort of the fundamental
aspect of running a successful school, and
that is managing the culture of the school,
managing the discipline. Forget the curricu-
lum maps and everything else, until you’ve
gotten the blocking and tackling of the
culture as a whole.”
Canada says teachers should be treated
as professionals, like hard-driving, well-
compensated young associates at law frms.
“You take the brightest young people, and
you work them to death,” he said at the
Sheraton conference, only half joking.
Indeed, the demands on Promise Academy
teachers are high and near constant. Te
school year begins on or near Labor Day and
fnishes in the second week of August. Longer
hours and a longer year were part of the
original job description; evening sessions and
Saturday school were not. All of the schools’
staf, from the principals down, serve at the
pleasure of Canada and the HCZ board.
Tere is no union, there is no tenure, and
there is no job security. Tat lack of security
can be a stumbling block for experienced
teachers and administrators.
Former Promise Academy teachers say
that leadership applied a double standard to
teachers versus parents. “To get parents to
meetings, they would give away iPods, ste-
reos, Pathmark gif certifcates,” says former
literacy coach Shelly Klein. At parent meet-
ings, dinner was ordered for parents who
attended, “but they would not let the teachers
eat,” Klein says, despite the fact that teach-
ers remained on call afer a very long school
day. Te message from the board was clear,
she says: “Te people who gave us the money
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 24
Details on the
President’s plan.
More coverage at
[for the schools] wanted to see results. Tese
gentlemen gave millions of dollars. Te kids
weren’t getting better. Te responsibility, and
the critique, was to the teachers.”
Canada does not dispute this. Of the most
reluctant parent-participants, he says fatly,
“I bribe them.” Boxes of Pampers,
cases of Coke, free pizza din-
ners, tickets to ballgames, gif
certifcates—“whatever it takes”
to get parents engaged and into
the schools. Canada relates how
he motivated competition in
an ongoing anti-obesity initia-
tive: Children who lost the most
weight won a trip to Disney
World in Orlando; winning stafers were
rewarded with a sojourn in the Bahamas.
Canada, in eforts to inspire students,
visited the school frequently, Klein says. “In
middle school, when kids did their home-
work, Geof Canada would stand in the
auditorium with a roll of money and pay
them. Kids would be called up by name. ‘Oh,
you got X grade, here’s $20.’ He would call
up kids. Don’t forget—he’s not the principal.
And he’d hand out money. Tat’s what Oprah
doesn’t say.”
Te conditions and demands took their
toll, on individual teachers and the schools
themselves as they tried to build a culture
of success amid staggering turnover. “New
teachers come in—12 new teachers, 12
distinct cultures. It afects the gestalt. Te
sum of the parts doesn’t equal the whole,”
says Ukoidemabia.
Attrition has lessened since 2008, a result,
at least in part, of a dramatic move to revamp
the school’s focus.
Te tension between the teaching staf at
Promise Academy I and the HCZ board came
to a tumultuous head in March 2007, when,
afer three years of consistently dismal test
scores, Canada elected to close enrollment
in the middle school for a year. No new
sixth-graders were to be admitted—a luxury
that an open-enrollment neighborhood
school, which is by law obliged to educate all
youngsters within its catchment zone, could
never entertain. (Te school also decided not
to admit sixth-graders the following year,
“restarting” the middle school in grade fve.
It also ended the practice of the middle
school admissions lottery and began the
preschool lottery that determines eventual
enrollment in the Promise Academy. Neither
strategy would be permitted in conventional
open-enrollment schools.)
As it closed the entrance to new kids, the
Promise Academy also ushered existing
students out the exit. Of the 100 eighth-
graders who were the inaugural Promise
Academy middle school students—those who
entered the school with the understanding
that they would continue through 12th grade
there—65 remained in the academy when
the board stopped enrollment. Tat May,
they were hastily “graduated” and placed in
city and private high schools. Where the kids
ended up is not clear.
“We don’t track them in the sense that we
evaluate our own kids,” says HCZ spokes-
person Lipp, who couldn’t detail where that
cohort went to high school or discuss their
progress toward graduation. “We don’t track
them as a group, like we would track our
eighth-graders.” Tis division—“our” eighth-
graders vs. the children who were once
Promise Academy eighth-graders—stands in
sharp contrast to the of repeated promise of
the Promise Academy and the HCZ: Once a
child is in the HCZ pipeline, they’re secure
and supported all the way through college.
Here, children who once were in are now out.
In the fall of 2008, the Promise Academy
I midle school again accepted new students.
But instead of admitting sixth-graders, the
decision was made to start fresh with ffh
graders who came up from the Promise
Academy lower grades, efectively controlling
the quality and previous education of
students entering the middle school. Te
eighth-graders whose 2007 test score gains
inspired Fryer and Dobbie’s enthusiasm, just
a year afer the middle school hiatus went
into efect, are now in the Promise Academy
high school. In 2014, 10 years afer it opened
its doors, the Promise Academy will fnally
reach its full K-12 enrollment.
www.citylimits.org 25
and Stephen
in class.
The Promise
have recorded
scores on state
math tests.
It’s unclear
why that
success hasn’t
translated to
other tests.
Doubts about test scores shouldn’t nullify all
the optimism about the Harlem Children’s Zone
schools. Lots of schools are accused of “teaching
to the test” and cherry-picking the numbers they
present to the world, but the Promise Academies
happen to have better numbers than many. Tat
the gains are pretty recent and largely limited to the
state tests, that they contrast sharply with the same
schools’ performance just a few years ago, even
the serious problems with teacher turnover—these
don’t invalidate the idea that something special is
going on in Harlem. Tey might just be warning
signs for those hoping to replicate the Harlem
model elsewhere: Tere are curves in the road,
slippery conditions, even sudden stops.
Tere also might be more than one road.
What’s ofen overlooked in the warm glow of
media attention to HCZ is the fact that other
traditional public schools and charter networks
achieve comparably robust test scores, with lower
per-student spending and ofen without the
extended day–extended year paradigm.
Dozens of open-admission public schools and
charters, in New York and the nation, demonstrate
ongoing, dramatic success with high-need, high-
poverty students. Some have progressive educa-
tional policies; others hew to a more traditional,
structured, prescriptive style. Established national
Continued on p.28
“We are so desperate for any little inkling of success … ”
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 26
Taking It
• The Comprehensive Community
Revitalization Program (CCRP), which
ran from 1992 through 1998, concen-
trated its efforts on struggling South
Bronx neighborhoods along the Cross
Bronx Expressway that had since the
1960s and 1970s been battling de-
population, arson, declining business
activity and job loss. While HCZ has
made intensive investments in pre-K
through 12th-grade education, neigh-
borhood outreach and preventive
care at the family level, CCRP’s ap-
proach focused more on employment
assistance, health care, economic
development and overall quality of
life to help reverse years of blight and
poverty in this part of the city.
According to a 2006 assessment
report published by the program,
CCRP—whose founders were linked
to the Surdna Foundation and the
Local Initiatives Support Corporation
(LIFC)—relied on the philosophy
that in order to achieve success and
longevity, redevelopment had to start
at the ground level with local support.
The best way to do this, the leaders
believed, was through community
development corporations (CDCs). The
program partnered with four South
Bronx CDCs—the MBD Community
Housing Corporation, the Mid-Bronx
Senior Citizens Council, the Mount
Hope Housing Company and Phipps
CDC-West Farms—to lead revitalization
efforts in each neighborhood,
building off of what the CDCs had
already managed to accomplish in
housing production and property
management and broadening
those roles to include addressing the
economic and social needs of their
CCRP managed to raise $10
million from 21 funding groups,
according to a 1998 final assessment
report by the Organization and
Management Group. Successes
include the development of six parks,
the conversion of the prostitution-
plagued Jerome Motel in Mount
Hope–Morris Heights into a supportive
housing project for homeless HIV-
positive individuals (renamed
Jerome Court, and opened in 2000)
and a predevelopment grant that
helped lead to the construction of
the New Horizons Shopping Center,
which brought close to 350 jobs to
Crotona Park East. While it was not
free from trial and error through
its demonstration phase, CCRP, in
its 2006 assessment report, said
that by the end of the program,
the neighborhoods “emerged from
the initiative vastly enriched and
energized,” and the participating
CDCs ended with more staff, more
money and a more comprehensive
plan to address the social and
economic needs of its residents.

• Community Change for Youth
Development (CCYD), launched in
1995 by the nonprofit Public/Private
Ventures (PPV), aimed at providing
young people from sites in five cities
across the country—Austin, Texas;
Kansas City, Mo.; Savannah, Ga.; St.
Petersburg, Fla; and, in New York
City, the Lower East Side and Staten
Island’s adjacent Stapleton and
Clifton neighborhoods (considered
one “site”) —with resources and
support programs that tried to
steer youth away from crime and
joblessness and toward skill-building
and future goals. Unlike HCZ, its
efforts were concentrated almost
exclusively on developing programs
that met the needs of teenagers
during the nonschool hours: after-
school programs, regular support
and guidance from neighborhood
adults, homework help, and summer
employment programs. It worked by
partnering an existing and credible
“lead agency,” such as a government
agency or a nonprofit community
In its 15 years of
existence, the
Harlem Children’s
Zone has earned
national recognition
for its comprehensive
approach to reversing
generational poverty.
But Harlem is not the
only neighborhood
in America where
a focused, holistic
attempt has been
made to reduce
Philadelphia’s Penn Alexander
School. Photo: UPenn.
programs beyond
the Zone
www.citylimits.org 27
institution like the YMCA, with a
neighborhood council composed of
local residents to design and guide
programs that best met the needs
of each site, according to a 2002
report by the founders.
In its six years working with these
cities, CCYD yielded some concrete
results in the target neighborhoods.
In St. Petersburg’s Childs Park neigh-
borhood, the CCYD framework lived
on through the Childs Park Youth
Initiative Council. The lead agency,
the Pinellas County Juvenile Welfare
Board, helped the council garner
attention and support from local
government for neighborhood
needs. This led to major improve-
ments in and around the Childs
Park Recreation Center: increased
police presence, progress in plan-
ning for a long-awaited swim-
ming pool and greater input from
residents in overall management of
the recreation center. At the policy
level, the initiative yielded lessons
going forward on the dos and don’ts
for creating positive youth develop-
ment programs at the neighbor-
hood level.

• In 1996 the Neighborhood
Improvement Initiative (NII),
a $20 million-plus project supported
by the William and Flora Hewlett
Foundation, set out to reduce poverty
in three sites across California’s Bay
Area (Mayfair, West Oakland and
East Palo Alto) that were geographi-
cally compact and moderately
populated and that shared char-
acteristics like high unemployment,
high crime and low high-school
graduation rates.
By partnering a local community
foundation with a local lead agen-
cy at each site to help create and
manage neighborhood improve-
ment plans that drew heavily from
resident involvement, NII attempted
to strengthen and bring together
anti-poverty efforts already in place
in these communities, according
to a 2007 assessment report. On the
whole, experts in the community
change field deemed NII a disap-
pointment because end results in
each of the three communities did
not match the scale envisioned by
stakeholders, given the substantial
financial backing the initiatives
received. Nonetheless, at least
one successful project managed
to bloom from the West Oakland
initiative after some reorganization:
The McClymonds Youth and Family
Center runs a host of after-school
programs mainly geared toward
college readiness, youth leader-
ship, physical and mental health,
and family support. The center is
located in the McClymonds Educa-
tional Complex, which also houses
two small high schools that require
all their seniors to apply to college.
Housed in an adjacent building, the
complex’s clinician-staffed Chappell
Hayes Health Center provides to past
and present McClymonds students
and their siblings ages 12 to 21 a
range of physical and mental health
services free of charge, courtesy of
the Children’s Hospital of Oakland.
• Lack of jobs, rising crime, failing
schools and a general decay of re-
sources and infrastructure had been
taking its toll on West Philadelphians
for decades. But not until the murder
of a University of Pennsylvania
graduate student just off campus
in 1996 did the city’s largest private
employer decide to take action.
The West Philadelphia Initiatives,
designed, led and mainly funded
by the university, comprised a heav-
ily marketed campaign that drew
on university resources, student par-
ticipation, local community groups
and government to spark what
organizers hoped would be fast,
noticeable improvements in several
key areas: infrastructure and public
safety (streetlight installation in a
123-block area, for example), hous-
ing options, local retail and devel-
opment activity, and the quality
of local public schools. (The Penn
Alexander School, a joint project of
the university and the Philadelphia
School District, opened its doors
in 2001.)
The university, through a top-
down structure starting with the
president’s office, delegated each
component of the initiative to a
different university entity while hold-
ing monthly meetings with neigh-
borhood representatives and civic
groups to share information about
current plans and to hear and ad-
dress local community concerns,
according to a 2004 case study by
the university.
The university has agreed
to provide an annual subsidy
of $1,000 per student for Penn
Alexander’s 700 pre-K through
eighth graders, to cover operating
costs (up to $700,000 annually) for
10 years. Penn’s Graduate School of
Education plays a major role in staff
and curriculum development and
continues to offer support programs
to Penn Alexander and other local
public schools, according to the
case study. Children enroll in Penn
Alexander not through a lottery
system, as is the case with the
HCZ’s charter schools, but instead
based on how close they live to
the school. This helps ensure a
connection between the school and
the community, the study states.
According to the university’s case
study, at least 70 percent of Penn
Alexander’s primary-grade students
show proficiency in reading and
math on standardized tests.
— Rachel Dodakian
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 28
programs like the Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP),
Achievement First and the Opportunity Charter Net-
work, as well as individual local charter schools like Bos-
ton’s Roxbury Prep and the Bedford Stuyvesant Charter
School for Excellence in Brooklyn, achieve comparable
results without the vast HCZ network of social sup-
ports—or the HCZ’s copious fnancial resources.
Te success of these schools and programs does not
diminish HCZ’s work. Rather, they are alternative models
that ofen deliver similar gains for far less money, going
to the heart of the challenge in designing new responses
to poverty. Does urban poverty have a single cure? Or
do diferent models, with unique approaches, have their
place? And are great schools enough to tackle poverty, or
do neighborhoods need a broader array of resources?
Te two strands of HCZ—its social programs and its
schools—are supposed to work together to transform
central Harlem. But while state testing data and other
statistics—about attendance, poverty, spending and the
like—are accessible for the Promise Academy charter
schools, HCZ’s broader social programs, which were the
founding purpose of the Zone, are far more difcult to
assess objectively. Although some are 15 years old, the
impact of these programs is obscured by immaturity: Te
data are not yet comprehensive or ripe enough to dem-
onstrate conclusively
that the pipeline actu-
ally works, or that the
65 percent critical mass
that Canada identifes
as the tipping point to
positive “contamination”
has been reached in any
meaningful way.
While Canada says publicly, “We’ve been really suc-
cessful with teen pregnancy,” independent verifcation is
impossible. Births to teenage mothers are down slightly
in the community district containing most of the Zone,
but they have fallen in adjoining neighborhoods as well,
and the causes cannot be discerned. Employment data
show little change in the HCZ era; at least one HCZ
job-training program fzzled and was shuttered when
it didn’t reach its intended targets. Afer two years, “the
young people we designed the jobs program for were
not coming in. Te program was a failure. We closed the
program. It just simply did not work,” Canada said at the
public gathering in November in Springfeld. He added,
“We are probably the biggest youth employer in Harlem,”
but no public data exist to support—or refute—his claim.
Te 2010 census might provide more accurate insights
about birth rate and family structures, despite concerns
about data-gathering and incomplete counting in poor
communities. But current hard data are lacking, says
Lisbeth Schorr, of the Washington-based Center for the
Study of Social Policy and a lecturer in social medicine
at Harvard. “What Geofrey Canada has accomplished is
to give people a reason to believe that you can put a lot
of things that have worked separately together and pro-
duce better outcomes. He doesn’t have the data to show
that. It’s an inspiration,” Schorr says. “Te fact that they
don’t have a lot of hard results hasn’t kept people from
being inspired by it. He’s been so successful at convinc-
ing people it can be done that there’s no challenge for
hard data.”
Even the Zone’s strongest academic supporters, Fryer
and Dobbie of Harvard, caution against extrapolating too
much, too quickly from the schools’ academic successes.
Tey write, “Te Harlem Children’s Zone combines
reform-minded charter schools with a web of community
services. … We cannot, however, disentangle whether
communities coupled with high-quality schools drive
our results, or whether the high-quality schools alone are
enough to do the trick.” Of the more than 20 programs in
the Zone, the Harvard authors say, only two lend them-
selves to statistical analysis.
Oddly, in an era where accountability and metrics are
education reform and public policy watchwords, the lack
of data about HCZ hasn’t dampened enthusiasm for rep-
licating Canada’s model. Even those skeptical about the
lack of evidence embrace the hope Canada articulates.
“To date, these investments have not aggregated to
improvement in neighborhood-wide well-being nor
produced population-level changes in, for example, infant
mortality, graduation rates, or income,” reads a recent
report by a research team led by Kubisch of the Aspen
Institute Roundtable for Community Change.
Yet Kubisch strongly endorses HCZ as a model for na-
tional change. “We are so desperate for any little inkling
of success that as soon as we get something, we grab on
to it. Te Harlem Children’s Zone has more to ofer than
other places,” she tells City Limits. “If you’ve got to do
something, it’s better than a lot of alternatives.”
Even before the bright lights of national prominence
shone on Canada’s work, educators and civic leaders from
across the U.S. and overseas sought out the Zone’s secrets
and strategies. In response, Canada assigned his longtime
colleague, confdant and fellow Bowdoin alum Rasuli
Lewis the task of creating the HCZ Practitioners Institute.
More than 100 groups, from the U.S. and overseas, have
since visited the HCZ to observe its techniques.
Now that the White House has tapped Canada’s model
Covering poverty: where
policies meet people.
Continued from p.25
www.citylimits.org 29
as the template for tackling 21st century poverty, more
people from more cities are coming to Harlem to learn.
A picture is emerging of what the new federal program
will look like. At Canada’s November conference, Edu-
cation Secretary Arne Duncan said that “high-quality
schools are at the center”—essential elements of all po-
tential Promise Neighborhoods. According to the govern-
ment’s funding guidelines, prospective Promise Neigh-
borhoods must demonstrate at least 30 percent childhood
poverty. Anchor organizations must be community-based
entities and show evidence of long-term community
engagement, the capacity to launch a successful initia-
tive and the ability to build partnerships with public and
private entities and community leaders.
U.S. DOE budget materials say the selected programs
will be “modeled afer the Harlem Children’s Zone” and
“designed to combat the efects of poverty and improve
education and life outcomes for children, from birth
through college.”
“Te core idea behind the initiative is that providing
both efective schools and strong systems of support to
children and youth in poverty and, thus, meeting their
health, social services, and educational needs, will
ofer them the best hope for a better life,” the DOE’s
description continues. Recipients of planning funding
that submit “promising plans and partnerships” will be
eligible to get more money to implement their ideas in
the following year.
What’s unclear is whether the federal program intends
to mass-produce the HCZ model or merely use it as a
loose framework of ideas. Tat distinction matters, be-
cause among those who attended the November “Chang-
ing the Odds” conference were representatives from areas
whose similarities to Harlem begin and end with the fact
that their residents are overwhelmingly poor.
In Richmond, Calif., MacArthur “genius prize” winner
Dan Lau has been working to replicate HCZ programs
and results since he visited Harlem in 2005. Instead of the
fgurehead leadership personifed by Canada, however,
Lau must coordinate the eforts of 25 partnering agen-
cies. “Fundraising is our biggest challenge,” Lau said at
the “Changing the Odds” conference; neighborhood jobs
are a close second. Many signature HCZ elements didn’t
succeed in Richmond, Lau said. “We tried Baby College,
Harlem Gems, AmeriCorps—they didn’t work for us.
What works for us is what you do for people and how
you engage them. You can’t just pick up Harlem and put
it in Richmond.”
Dr. Karen Fox, head of the Delta Health project that
spans 18 bayou counties in Mississippi, told the confer-
ence of a vastly diferent geographic landscape: 70 percent
of her area’s residents must drive 45 miles just to reach a
grocery store, she said. Tere are few community librar-
ies; many lack access to an emergency room or a local
physician. Basic social services, omnipresent in central
Harlem, are near absent. “Access is so diferent,” she said.
“Forming collaborations is diferent.” Because there is
little infrastructure and “terrible transportation,” the kind
of intensive door-knocking outreach that HCZ program
participation depends on is simply impossible. Neighbor-
hood saturation is not feasible in an underdeveloped area
“bigger than the state of Rhode Island.” Neither is the
creation of a single school to anchor a potential Promise
Neighborhood—a requirement of the Obama adminis-
tration’s funding guidelines.
Te HCZ is careful to issue a disclaimer to all potential
Practitioners Institute participants: Te workshops
are not guaranteed to actually prepare community
representatives to go home and implement their own
versions of the Harlem Children’s Zone. (HCZ even sued
a Hartford, Conn., charity—the Asylum Hill Children’s
Zone—for copyright infringement. Te charity changed
its name to settle the case.)
“None of this is easy anywhere,” Canada conceded at
the November conference. “We are not going to fran-
chise. We are not going to replicate the work ourselves.”
But, he added, “we don’t want people to have to reinvent
the wheel—or the science” of how to turn a troubled
neighborhood around.
“We are in the process of inventing a science that will
allow us to win,” he continued. “What we haven’t done
is fgure out the way to share. ... People have the fantasy
this is easy, that we had all the answers, we didn’t fall on
our face. None of it was ever easy,” he added. But as he
“I support what Geoff Canada is doing—his ambition,
his dedication, his commitment. He is a sincere,
dedicated individual. It doesn't mean that everything
they do is right, though.”
Continued on p.32
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 30
Making Connections
Powerful friends, deep pockets and the Harlem Children’s Zone
Mayor Bloomberg
Geoffrey Canada,
Director of the Harlem Children’s Zone
President Obama
• Bloomberg
donated $600,000
to HCZ.
• Canada advised
the White House
not to endorse
Bloomberg’s 2009
mayoral rival.
• Canada testified
on behalf of the
term limits change,
and endorsed the
mayor’s re-election,
recording a radio
ad on Bloomberg’s
• Canada chairs
the board of Learn
NY, a group that
advocated the
extension of
mayoral control
of schools.
• Eight HCZ board
members made
more than $47,000
in campaign
contributions to
Barack Obama.
• Obama Education
Secretary Arne
Duncan headlined
a recent HCZ
conference on
exporting its model
to other cities.
• Obama’s signature
program, Promise
is modeled on HCZ.
• HCZ has received
more than $75
million in city funds
for its services and
schools under the
• HCZ board member and hedge fund
magnate Stanley Druckenmiller donated
$250,000 to a Draft Bloomberg committee
advocating a presidential run.
www.citylimits.org 31
Wall Street
• HCZ board members are major supporters of
influential institutions. Langone and Druckenmiller
have donated hundreds of millions to NYU. Drucken-
miller, Langone and Sue Lehmann support Teach for
America. Druckenmiller and Joseph DiMenna donate
to the Central Park Conservancy. DiMenna is on the
board of the New-York Historical Society.
•HCZ board member Wallis
Annenberg is chairman,
president and CEO of the
Annenberg Foundation, a major
education funder that has
sent at least $2 million to
the Harlem Children’s Zone.
• Canada is one of five
co-signers on $100 million
bail for HCZ board member
Raj Rajaratnam, a hedge
fund whiz charged last fall
with securities fraud. • HCZ’s endowment recently took
a hit thanks to investments in Ariel
Group, a Bernard Madoff-linked
• HCZ’s 17-member board
includes current or former top
officers of Goldman Sachs,
American Express, Timberland,
Morgan Stanley, Showtime,
Lehman Brothers and Home
Depot, as well as four hedge
fund operators.
• Board members Langone and
Druckenmiller joined a failed
attempt to buy the New
York Stock Exchange in 2005.
• HCZ board member
Laura Samberg runs
a family foundation
that supports HCZ.
• Bloomberg joined Druckenmiller
at HCZ board member and Home
Depot founder Kenneth Langone’s
70th birthday party.
The Harlem Children’s Zone has benefited from its
relationships to influential institutions, powerful
politicians and financial powerhouses. The Zone’s web
of supporters might be a testament to its compelling
mission and inspiring leader, Geoffrey Canada. But
it also illustrates the challenges to programs aspiring
to transplant the HCZ approach to other parts of the
country, where well-heeled and well-connected
supporters might be in shorter supply.
— Maria Muentes and Jarrett Murphy
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 32
completed the thought, he gave hope to cities that see in
themselves what Canada saw in Harlem. “None of it,” he
added, “is so complicated that it can’t be replicated—if
done correctly.”
In his remarks, Canada never closed the door on the
possibility that the rest of urban America has something
to learn from him. But he didn’t mention the unique
attributes that helped the Children’s Zone achieve what
it has: a dense neighborhood that permitted a focused
approach, the profound fnancial resources that reside
in New York City (and, notably, on the HCZ board), the
city’s long-established web of social services that the HCZ
can harness and direct.
Tey are all factors that may not be reproduced
elsewhere in America. “Is it possible to replicate?” asks
Schorr, of the Center for the Study of Social Policy. “Te
answer to that is a clear no. Adaptations are required by
new settings and new circumstances.” Plus, says Schorr,
20 Promise Neighborhoods “will require at least 20 ex-
traordinary leaders.”
But not every struggling city or impoverished neigh-
borhood has a Geof Canada to tell its story. “I’m not a
believer in the McDonald’s version of education—you
build a franchise and sell the same hamburgers across the
country,” says Robert Hughes, president of New Visions
for Public Schools, which has opened 96 New Century
schools in the Bloomberg-Klein era. “Tat’s why I’m resis-
tant to the idea of replication. You can’t replicate Geof—
you’ll inevitably fail.”
Canada has, over years of work and in countless
speeches, interviews, meetings and conversations,
defned a new kind of reality in central Harlem, one that
drinks deep from the well of hope. Tere’s no prescriptive
process that details how to cultivate inspirational leaders,
much less those with a lifelong commitment to a singular
cause, impeccable social skills and street cred, and deep
connections to politicians and funders.
Te list of individual and corporate donors to the Har-
lem Children’s Zone, posted in its annual report, looks a
lot like the donors wall at the Metropolitan Museum of
Art or any other entrenched New York City icon of good
works: studded with megawatt corporate and private
names, the big funders who have donated multiple mil-
lions to the Zone’s projects every year since its creation.
Te money doesn’t walk itself in the door; it takes
concerted, dogged efort, by some of the same moneyed
fnanciers and philanthropists, to drum up the support
the Zone currently enjoys.
Donors to the Harlem Children’s Zone include Druck-
enmiller—chairman of HCZ’s board—who ran George
Soros’ investment fund and is listed as No. 85 on the
Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. Among other sup-
porters are ex–American International Group chairman
Maurice H. (Hank) Greenberg, Home Depot founder and
former New York Stock Exchange director Ken Langone
and Mayor Bloomberg (No. 8). A $100 million campaign
is currently under way to bolster the Zone’s existing $168
million to $175 million endowment.
Canada’s ability to move between the boardroom and
the street has been honed, over time, to a kind of art. It
helps that some of his relationships with funders go back
nearly 40 years—and that doors have continued to open,
and introductions have been made, in the years since.
Chenault, American Express CEO and Canada college
Left: Students at the Promise Academy
go to school for longer days and have
longer school years than most kids.
Right: An after-school step class
for fourth graders.
Continued from p.29
www.citylimits.org 33
Voices from the Zone:
Teachers and parents speak.
buddy, says conversations that began in dorm
rooms continue today, in Amex boardrooms and
uptown at HCZ headquarters. Chenault is ada-
mant in his support of the Zone; a representative of
Amex consistently holds a seat on the HCZ board.
Bloomberg has long been one of the HCZ’s most
outspoken public champions. He has privately
donated $600,000 to the project, and in public life
oversees numerous city agencies, including the
Department of Education, that funnel many tens
of millions annually into the HCZ’s schools and
programs. Canada is an equally staunch devotee
of the mayor, headlining the mayor’s anti-poverty
commission, co-chairing the Learn NY efort to re-
new mayoral control of the city’s schools and even
reaching out to the Obama White House, through
trusted adviser Valerie Jarrett, to ask that the Presi-
dent limit his campaign appearances and potential
endorsement on behalf of the mayor’s recent chal-
lenger, city comptroller Bill Tompson.
“Geof Canada has a lot of social capital. He
moves in and among politicians and philanthro-
pists. Tat allows him to do things that most people
wouldn’t be able to do,” says Columbia University
Teacher's College Dean Aaron Pallas, who has stud-
ied the Zone.
As important as Canada’s connections to the
worlds of politics and fnance have been to the ex-
pansion of HCZ, they sometimes trigger unfatter-
ing coverage. He earned scorn last year for failing
to disclose the mayor’s fnancial support for HCZ
during his testimony to the City Council in favor of
extending term limits. And 2009 was a tough year
for many of the fnanciers in Canada’s close circle,
and the money they manage.
Te Wall Street Journal reported that the HCZ
endowment sufered Madof-linked losses in the
multiple millions. In addition to the private-sector
board members and donors, private money manag-
ers shepherd HCZ investments—including more
than $10 million invested with Bernard Madof
protégé J. Ezra Merkin’s now collapsed Ariel Group,
and upwards of $50 million managed by the ultra-
private investment fund DCM Investments. HCZ
treasurer Kurz would not comment on DCM’s
owners—”It’s not a big deal, but I would prefer not
to answer”—but allowed that “they provide great
service, and they have been doing very, very well
for us.” Regarding Madof-linked investments and
investors, Kurz admits, “we’ve had mixed results
from some of our investments,” but would not detail
particulars. Te late Madof associate Jefry Picower
regularly made million-dollar donations to the HCZ.
In October 2009, HCZ board member Raj
Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon hedge fund,
was arrested and charged with leading an elaborate,
long-lived $20 million insider-trading scheme.
Rajaratnam did double duty with the HCZ as both
a board member and fnancial service provider:
Te Harlem Children’s Zone has had about $10
million a year invested with Galleon, at least since
the mid-2000s. Rajaratnam was on the board for
“not an insignifcant amount of time,” according to
Kurz, and his arrest took Kurz, and the board,
by surprise.
Two weeks afer Rajarat-
nam’s arrest, Te New York
Times reported that fve in-
dividuals, including Canada,
vouched for Rajaratnam’s
$100 million bail, providing
personal assurances that he
would not fee the New York
jurisdiction. “Mr. Canada appeared in court and
volunteered to be one of fve co-signers of Mr. Raja-
ratnam’s $100 million bail,” according to the Times,
citing the prosecutor’s concerns that Rajaratnam
could be a fight risk.
Canada’s pledge, which he acknowledged in the
Times, risked his home, pension and life savings.
Even so, he expressed total confdence in the hedge
funder. “I have not had a moment’s doubt,” Canada
told the Times. “I’m not worried about it at all.” Te
dramatic public act raised whispered questions at
the November conference as to where Canada had
resources sufcient to assure a ffh, or $20 million,
of the hedge funder’s bail. Were the funds his own?
Was he placing Harlem Children’s Zone moneys
on the line? Treasurer Kurz says he did not know
of the plan before Canada ofered his support to
Rajaratnam. “I learned when you did,” he tells City
Limits, “when I read Te New York Times. I said to
my wife, ‘Where’d Geof get that kind of money?’ “
In fact, Kurz says, the board was not consulted
by Canada on the decision to publicly support
Rajaratnam. Te question did, Kurz admits,
“come up” in the board. “We decided to refer
questions to Geof. It was his volition. It was not
something that the trustees had to be asked about,
because he elected to do that on his own.” Te
investments HCZ had with Galleon will or have
been “liquidated,” says Kurz, and Rajaratnam’s case
awaits legal proceedings. Rajaratnam has resigned
from the HCZ board.
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 34
Te HCZ model might not work in every
depressed urban center. But something else
might work in those cities—or might already
be working, albeit outside the media spotlight
or the White House’s embrace.
William Strickland, like Canada, has
dedicated most of his adult life to working
to counter urban poverty. He established the
nonproft Manchester Bidwell Corp. in 1968,
in Pittsburgh’s toughest district, frst as an
arts education resource for local schoolchil-
dren and later, when Pittsburgh’s steel indus-
try collapsed, to provide vocational training
for unemployed workers. Today, the corpora-
tion works with Pittsburgh public schools,
placing artists in the classroom and ofering
a broad swath of afer-school, summer and
evening programs for kids and adults.
An overwhelming majority of teenagers
who participate in Strickland’s programs—90
percent—graduate from high school. Nearly
as many go on to college or other postsec-
ondary education. And at least 86 percent
of job-training graduates—who can learn
culinary arts, lab technology or horticultural
skills, among a score of options—go on to
paid employment.
A diferent approach revitalized East Lake
Meadows in Atlanta. Tere, developers bet
that building mixed-income housing would
be the catalyst for community growth—and
so far, it seems, the bet is paying of. Carol
Naughton, speaking at “Changing the Odds,”
says that “the depth of the distress was
liberating” in East Lake Meadows: In 1995,
unemployment was rampant; only 13 percent
of adults in East Lake Meadows had a job.
Crime was triple that of downtown Atlanta—
East Lake marked a murder a week, on aver-
age—and 18 times the national average. Only
5 percent of schoolchildren met state-testing
standards. “Our ideas, our program, was so
audacious that nobody believed it would
work,” said Naughton.
Te construction of 542 mixed-income
residences—half now occupied at market
rates and half subsidized by Section 8
housing vouchers—was enriched by the
creation of the Drew Charter School, where
84 percent of students now meet state
standards for reading and 94 percent for
math. Te project also includes a community
center, early-childhood resources, a YMCA
and a public 18-hole golf course. Only 5
percent of adults in East Lake Meadows are
now unemployed, another hallmark of the
redeveloped neighborhood, which has its
own service and support pipeline featuring
multiple college partnerships that bring
college students into the community and,
by doing so, provide living, breathing role
models for local schoolchildren.
Other local approaches to combating
poverty have been tried from Savannah to
Philadelphia to Oakland, with mixed results
(See “ Taking it Local,” p.26).
Te Obama administration’s decision to
require school-based approaches to poverty
reduction means the Promise Neighborhoods
initiative is unlikely to support projects that
mirror the Manchester Bidwell or East Lake
Meadows models—eforts built around
job training and housing, respectively. By
the same token, cities like Orlando, Fla.,
where the mayor and other civic leaders
have launched a series of HCZ-based
reforms, cannot apply for funding, because
it is restricted to nonprofts. States without
charter schools, like Washington, may not
be legally able to dedicate a public school
to Promise Neighborhood development.
Cities where court desegregation rulings
require busing cannot provide the centrally
located school model that the Promise
Neighborhoods require. And eforts already
under way are not eligible for the funding
either; only newcomers need apply.
Te White House did not respond to a
request for comment. But Obama’s urban
czar, former Bronx borough president Adolfo
Carrión, told HCZ’s November conference
that the President “fell in love” with
Canada’s project. Promise Neighborhoods
are “of global importance,” Carrión said.
“Tey are a smart investment in people
and in neighborhoods that build strong
A de la Vega mural
at Promise Academy
I. It reads in part,
“We have so much to
unlearn here.”
“So you and I, we must succeed … in this crusade, this holy deed.”
www.citylimits.org 35
Is the pipeline that Canada built
in Harlem sturdy enough to sustain
Obama’s national anti-poverty agenda?
Is it enough to save a nation?

City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 36
Above: A Saturday dance class
at the Zone. The impact of HCZ's
nonschool programs has been
hard to quantify.

Bottom left: Children from Promise
Academy and the Harlem
Children’s Zone community center
participate in a Saturday double-
Dutch program.

Bottom right: Patrice Ward in her
ninth-grade English class. The
spending per student at HCZ may
be more than programs elsewhere
in the country can afford.
www.citylimits.org 37
communities, strong regions and strong
countries. It’s an international problem.”
He added: “ ‘Do what’s right’ doesn’t work.
Let the data speak.”
On a diferent night in November,
Canada found himself in front of a crowd
in Springfeld, Mass., a struggling city of
150,000 that some residents hope will be
one of Obama’s Promise Neighborhoods. A
quarter century afer returning to New York
to commence his life’s work, 15 years afer
launching the Harlem Children’s Zone and
fve years afer starting the charter school
whose test scores have propelled HCZ into
the realm of presidential priorities, Canada
is in Springfeld to deliver his well-honed
message to one segment of his new national
audience. Fittingly, his words speak to a
nation’s fears.
“I believe the country is in peril. We can’t
let America become a second-rate country,”
he says. Once again, lithe and elegant in a
well-ftted pinstriped suit, Canada palms
the mic, striding across the stage, using his
body to punctuate his words—now still, now
pantomiming a scolding parent, now side-
stepping with a dancer’s fnesse in front of
almost 2,000. “Unless our country fundamen-
tally changes its approach, we are not going to
remain a frst-rate power in the world.”
“If you love America,” Canada tells the
audience, gathered in the city’s rococo sym-
phony hall, “this work is essential.” Other
countries “are in a war—a war around how
many engineers, how many scientists, how
many doctors they can produce.” Other coun-
tries, like India and China, are preparing to
“dominate the United States.”
“If you love America,” the cadence repeats,
“you see a nation that’s not allowing children
to reach their potential.” But Canada knows
the way out; it’s his way, the Harlem Chil-
dren’s Zone. “You need a massive infusion of
capital and human talent,” he says, echoing
the building blocks that underpin the Harlem
Children’s Zone. “Tis is a science we’re
creating. All of these problems are solvable.
We had a plan at the Harlem Children’s Zone,
and it worked.”
Tere has never been any question about
Canada’s commitment to the cause. Nor has
there ever been a full answer to the question
of whether the Harlem Children’s Zone really
works, and if so, how. Now that the federal
government wants to model its national anti-
poverty policy afer what Canada has tried in
97 blocks of northern Manhattan, the long-
term test of the HCZ model will play out in a
score of American cities.
Te HCZ experiment has always rested
largely on hope. Every morning, the students
at the Promise Academy recite this mantra:
“We will go to college. We will succeed. Tis
is our promise. Tis is our creed.” As the pro-
gram prepares to go national, faith is still its
foundation. It still informs the leader. Canada
closes his remarks with a reading of his poem
“Take a Stand.” He stands center stage, beside
the wooden lectern, reading carefully from
a printed sheet. But he knows the words by
heart, and before long, his eyes are front and
forward, the paper forgotten:
So you and I, we must succeed
In this crusade, this holy deed
To say to the children of this land
Have hope. We’re here. We take a stand.
Is the pipeline that Canada built in
Harlem sturdy enough to sustain Obama’s
national anti-poverty agenda? Is it enough
to save a nation?
“We are hopefully saying that the Harlem
Children’s Zone does work,” says Anne
Kubisch. “It’s hard to say, ‘We’re not sure
it’s going to work. We can’t expect great
outcomes overnight.’ You have to have
something that has some success—then
everyone wants to be a part of it.” CL
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 38
The Mid-Bronx Desperadoes
Community Housing Corp.,
In February of 2008, Peter M.
Williams, a former Vice-President at
Medgar Evers College and Director
of Housing and Community
Development at the National Urban
League, was named President
and CEO of MBD Community
Housing Corp., Inc. Under Williams,
the organization has focused on
upgrading the corporation’s afordable
housing properties and providing
free tax preparation services to East
Crotona Park residents as priorities.

The Mid-Bronx Senior
Citizens Council
Te Mid-Bronx Senior Citizens
council was instrumental in re-
launching a stalled initiative to bring
a Business Improvement District
centered around the new Yankee
Stadium to Bronx residents this past
September, and today the council
operates a youth employment
initiative, among other workforce
programs, that helps to fnd paid
employment and internships for
young people in the area.
The Mount Hope Housing
Tis organization made the goal of
making high-quality Internet access
available to low-income residents
in its 31 apartment buildings a
priority, and fnished outftting its
buildings with wireless links and
an Ethernet infrastructure for that
purpose in 2007. Today, the company
still partners with the other original
members of the CCRP (see p.26) to
help fnd jobs for Bronx residents.

The Phipps Community
Development Corporation
Created in 1996 in collaboration
with the city’s Department of
Education, the West Farms
Technology and Career Center
is the centerpiece initiative of
this community development
corporation. A Bridge to College
program operated out of the center
provides assistance for high school
students and residents interested in
continuing their education through
college, GED or vocational programs.

The West Philadelphia
Te West Philadelphia area
that includes the district where
the University of Pennsylvania
concentrated its community
development eforts is currently
a member of a Sustainable
Communities Initiative program
funded by the Local Initiatives
Support Corporation. To learn more
about the University City District
and the SCI West Philadelphia
initiative, go to:

The Manchester Bidwell
Established in Pittsburgh, Pa. in
1968, this organization operates two
subsidiaries aimed at exposing both
children and young adults to arts and
vocational-based education programs.
Te Manchester Crafsmen’s Guild
ofers apprenticeship-training
programs in ceramics, photography,
and the digital as well as design arts.
Te Bidwell Training Corporation
provides displaced steel workers
with ready-to-work training in felds
ranging from culinary arts to medical
The William and Flora
Hewlett Foundation
Although the 10-year, $20 million
National Improvement Initiative
aimed at addressing poverty-related
issues for the communities of West
Oakland, Mayfair and East Palo
Alto fell short of its stated goals,
the foundation still actively funds a
number of nonprofts in California’s
Bay Area around environmental,
population, performing arts and
education program areas. Trough
its support of a New Teacher Center
at the University of Santa Cruz,
achievement scores for students
in the East Palo Alto community
increased and the district itself boasts
teacher retention rate of greater than
85 percent.

The Lumina Foundation
Tis Indianapolis-based, private
and independent foundation was
established with the ambitious
goal of increasing the percentage
of Americans with high-quality
college degrees and credentials to 60
percent by the year 2025, and gave
Where to learn more about
local efforts to reduce poverty
and improve quality of life.
Continued on p.40
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 40
out more than $50 million in funding
to non-profts and public awareness
campaigns aimed at improving
college accessibility for the working
poor and students of color.
“Higher education is a pre-
requisite to succeeding in a
knowledge-based economy ... we
know that college is the one way
out of poverty so we are going to be
targeting vulnerable populations,”
explains Teresa Detrich, a Director of
Electronic Communication with the
Lumina Foundation.
Project GRAD
As an education reform model that
currently serves more than 132,000
students in 12 communities across
the country, this Houston-based
educational model is similar to the
Harlem Children’s Zone in its belief
that consistent support programs for
low-income students from the Pre-K
level through 12th grade can improve
educational outcomes. Te organiza-
tion has set the goal of making sure
that 80 percent of entering ninth
graders goes on to graduate from
high school, with 50 percent of that
number attending college.
The East Lake Foundation
Founded in 1995, this foundation
was created to address poverty
issues in a section of Atlanta that
was home to the East Lake Meadows
public housing project, which at one
time boasted a crime rate that was
18 times higher than the national
average and where 5 percent of the
area’s ffh graders met state math
standards. With the development
of mixed-income housing and the
creation of a “Cradle to College”
program operated out of the nearby
Charles R. Drew charter school, the
foundation estimates it has saved $89
to $107 million in costs related to the
incarceration of high-risk youth.
Public/Private Ventures
Since the release of a 2002 report on
its seven-year Community Change
for Youth Development initiative,
Public/Private Ventures (PPV)
has continued to evaluate afer-
school and Out-of-School Time
programs throughout the country,
PPV published a six-city study
this past September that found
that improving program quality
and expanding access for youth
programs received the largest share
of infrastructure investments.
Above: The Promise
Academy is the
heart of the Harlem
Children’s Zone’s
approach to fighting
poverty. Other efforts
around the country
have employed
different models,
with varied results.
www.citylimits.org 41
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Te Baruch College School
of Public Afairs and the
Weissman School of Arts
and Sciences
135 East 22nd Street

U.S. Census Day: April 1
April 1, 2010 is the mail
deadline for this year’s U.S.
Census. Te United States
Constitution requires that the
number of people living in the
United States be counted every
10 years. People of all ages,
races, ethnic groups, citizens
and non-citizens alike, regard-
less of legal status, are to be
counted in this year's census.
Te United States Department
of Commerce’s Census Bureau
is responsible for the count.
Millennium Minds Seeks
Board of Directors Members,
Millennium Minds is a non-
proft Queens-based cultural
arts youth organization that
provides production training
in language and the arts to
youth ages 12 to 21. Te orga-
nization is seeking members
for its board of directors, as
well as volunteers to assist
in their eforts. For more
information, please visit
www.mimikids.org or
contact 347-361-7767.

Te New Museum Launches
Imaginary Museum
“Te Imaginary Museum”
is a new exhibition series at
the New Museum that will
periodically feature leading
private collections of contem-
porary art from around the
world, providing the opportu-
nity for great works of art to
Opportunities in the
urban affairs world
from events to careers.
Census 2010 forms wait in a federal warehouse. Photo: Census Bureau.
Continued on p.44

Columbia University Executive Master
of Public Policy and Administration
program (EMPA) of the School of
International and Public Affairs (SIPA) is
designed for the experienced executive
who is looking for a top quality and
practical graduate program but cannot
take the time out to pursue full-time
The Executive MPA program trains
professionals to be competent and
sophisticated public managers, with a
curriculum that incorporates broad
questions of public affairs and imparts
specific analytic, managerial, and
communications skills.
Applications for Fall 2010 Admission are
currently available.
Early admission deadline is March 1, 2010.
Final admission deadline is July 1, 2010.
(212) 854-5124

To RSVP for an upcoming open house
email: empa@columbia.edu
City Limits / Vol. 34 / No. 1 Is the Promise Real? 44
be seen by a broader public,
while experimenting with
diferent curatorial models
and furthering conversa-
tions about collaboration.
Te frst exhibition in this
series will feature the Dakis
Joannou Collection. For more
information, visit http://www.

Cooper Union Elects Mark
Epstein Chairman, Board
of Trustees
Te Trustees of Te Cooper
Union for the Advancement
of Science and Art, cur-
rently celebrating the 150th
Anniversary of its founding,
elected Mark Epstein Chair-
man of the Board at the De-
cember meeting.  Dr. George
Campbell Jr., President of
Te Cooper Union, praised
Epstein’s participation in
Cooper Union afairs, noting
that Epstein, a 1976 alumnus
of Te School of Art at Te
Cooper Union, has been a
Trustee since 2004.  
Report is One of Six Issued
by Latino Data Project
Te percentage of Latinos
lacking health insurance is
double the national average,
according to a recent study by
the Latino Data Project of the
Center for Latin American,
Caribbean and Latino Stud-
ies (CLACLS) at the CUNY
Graduate Center. In addition,
the number of uninsured La-
tinos is increasing at a higher
rate than that of other groups
nationally, and in New York
State, nearly one third of Lati-
nos are without health insur-
ance, the Latino Data Project
found.  Te report, titled
“Health Insurance Patterns
among Latinos in Compara-
tive Perspective, 2004–2007,”
was one of six studies recently
released by CLACLS, includ-
ing an overview of “Te La-
tino Population in New York
City, 2008.” All of the reports
can be found at http://web.

Big Brothers/Big Sisters
recruiting mentors in
Brooklyn and Queens
Big Brothers/Big Sisters is
the nation’s leading youth
mentoring organization, pro-
viding one-to-one successful
mentoring relationships con-
tributing to brighter futures,
higher achieving students and
stronger communities for all. 
Te organization is actively
recruiting mentors who live
in Brooklyn or Queens to
make a positive diference in
the lives of children and youth
ages 6 to 16 living in the two
boroughs.  In Brooklyn and
Queens, there are approxi-
mately 255,920 single-parent
households with children who
do not have an adult friend. If
you are interested in becom-
ing a Big Brother/Big Sister
or have any further questions,
please contact the organiza-
tion at dtorres@ccbq.org or
call 718-875-8801 ext. 118.

Assistant Commissioner,
Ofce of Resource Develop-
ment and Program Support
Te New York City Adminis-
tration for Children’s Services
(ACS) is seeking an outstand-
ing candidate for the position
of Assistant Commissioner of
the Ofce of Resource Devel-
opment and Program Support
(RDPS). ACS is a premier
children’s services agency ded-
icated to ensuring the safety of
NYC’s 1.8 million children and
strengthening its families. Te
Assistant Commissioner will
be responsible for the coordi-
nation of innovative strategies
to advance youth development
in foster care, providing an
infrastructure of support and
resources, development and
recruitment of foster homes,
an integration of foster care,
policy & practice, and capacity
building to ensure that youth
in foster care are successful.
Visit www.nyc.gov/acs for
more information.
Business Administrator,
Community Church of New
York Unitarian Universalist
Teologically liberal and
socially progressive, the Com-
munity Church of New York
Unitarian Universalist seeks
a Business Administrator. S/
he will oversee the day-to-
day business functions of the
church and its properties. In
addition to the usual congre-
gational functions (worship,
education, and pastoral care),
the church operates a guest
house and houses religious,
community, and educational
organizations. For the com-
plete announcement, visit:
Director of Finance
and Administration,
National Employment
Law Project
National Employment Law
Project (NELP) seeks an expe-
rienced nonproft professional
to work in NELP’s New York
City headquarters and oversee
key aspects of the administra-
tion of a vibrant, expanding
national advocacy and re-
search organization. Working
for a mid-size organization
like NELP, the Director of
Finance and Administration
will be a hands-on manager
with the ability to oversee
fnance, human resources and
operations and the willingness
to take on key tasks in these
areas. For more information,
visit: www.nelp.org.

Executive Director,
Dwa Fanm
Dwa Fanm (Women’s Rights
in Haitian Creole) seeks an
Executive Director to provide
visionary leadership, manage
staf/volunteers, and fund-
raise. BA with 5 years senior-
level nonproft management
experience required mini-
mum, MA ideal. Experience
in advocacy/human rights,
fuency in French or Creole a
plus. For more information,
visit www.dwafanm.org.
Political Organizer,
SEIU-New York
Local 32BJ, SEIU is one of
the largest and most dynamic
labor unions in the country,
with over 100,000 members
in 8 states and Washington,
DC. Te union is at the
forefront of building the
nation’s labor movement,
supporting progressive
candidates for elected
ofce and moving a broad
policy agenda, including
campaigns to guarantee
living wages, promote
responsible development
and expand access to health
care. Its parent organization,
the Service Employees
International Union (SEIU),
is the nation’s largest union.
Te New York-based Political
Organizer is responsible for
various aspects of the union’s
political work in New York
City. For more information,
contact CRivera@seiu32bj.org.


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