Learning from the Harlem Children’s Zone


Harlem Children’s Zone is America’s most ambitious and closely watched effort to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty. HCZ aims to create a "conveyor belt" for Harlem’s poor children, a series of rich and effective supports-from a "Baby College" for parents, to an all-day pre-kindergarten and extended-day charter schools, to health clinics and community centers, all the way to help in succeeding in college. Together, these efforts aim to give poor children the stimulation and the opportunities that most kids growing up in middle-class neighborhoods receive from birth. This year, HCZ will serve 8,000 children living in the 97 block Zone. The initiative has been featured on 60 Minutes, the Oprah Winfrey Show, and in the New York Times Magazine.


Policymakers have long talked about the lessons of HCZ for anti-poverty policy nationwide, and now there are proposals to replicate the HCZ model nationally. This panel brings together Geoffrey Canada, HCZ’s President and Chief Executive Officer; Roland Fryer, a Harvard economics professor and the founder of Harvard’s new Education Innovation Laboratory, a major effort to identify and evaluate promising approaches to closing the achievement gap; and Paul Tough, a New York Times Magazine editor and the author of the new book, Whatever It Takes, a critically acclaimed look at HCZ in the broader context of American poverty and education policy. They will talk about HCZ’s experience to date and its implications for national policy.

Copies of Whatever it Takes will be available for purchase.

Featured Speakers:
Geoffrey Canada, President and Chief Executive Officer, Harlem Children’s Zone
Roland Fryer, Professor of Economics, Harvard University; Chief Executive Officer, Education Innovation Laboratory
Paul Tough, editor, New York Times Magazine; author, Whatever it Takes

Moderated by:
Robert Gordon, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress


Center for American Progress, 1333 H St. NW, 10th Floor, Washington, DC , 20005

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