Harlem Childrens Dumping Zone?

Geoffrey Canada, the CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, spoke last week on Ted Talks.  I watched him.  He completely charmed me.  He was funny, self deprecating and I shared his pride during this interchange with John Legend:

John Legend: So what is the high school dropout rate at Harlem Children’s Zone?

Geoffrey Canada: Well, you know, John,100 percent of our kids graduated high school last year in my school.  A hundred percent of them went to college.This year’s seniors will have 100 percent graduating high school.Last I heard we had 93 percent accepted to college.We’d better get that other seven percent.So that’s just how this goes.

I loved his passion, commitment.  I loved that he created the “wrap around” services (health, mental health, nutrition, plus…) that starts with the birth of the child and continues all the way through college. BTW – wrap around services from birth are KEY for all Americans.  Invest in them now (!) and we create another great generation.   But I digress.

Yesterday, I read Gary Rubinstein’s Blog, “Teach For Us.”   And I crashed.  According to GR,  It seems that Mr. Canada had an unusual way of “achieving “100%” graduation rates:  he fired whole classes of students. Like the whole 9th grade end of 2007.  He also dumped an entire class of 6th graders in 2008.

Where’d they go?  My guess?  To a local public school, struggling to compete for federal, state and city resources that are going to charters like HCZ.   Oh well.  We’re only talking about a couple hundred little kids who, along with their families, had hopes of health food, excellent medical services, counseling…achieving the American dream.

Perhaps Mr. Canada has a credible explanation for dumping these kids…as well as the alleged complete turnover in teaching staff.  Geoff – is that true, too?   I didn’t hear you mention your love for your teachers, their passion, their creativity.

Maybe I missed it.


4 thoughts on “Harlem Childrens Dumping Zone?

  1. roberta

    Oh wow. I had no idea. I remember seeing him in a documentary a few years ago about the NY school lottery system. I was so impressed by him………..how the mighty have fallen. Sad.

  2. Elizabeth Rose Post author

    Thanks Roberta. I would hope he’d respond to these issues. That would be courageous. His yearly salary, btw, is around $400,000. The charter school business is often very profitable for the leaders…but maybe not so much for many kids and their families.


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