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David Brooks: The Harlem Miracle
NY Times ^ | May 8, 2009 | DAVID BROOKS

Posted on 05/09/2009 10:03:32 AM PDT by neverdem

The fight against poverty produces great programs but disappointing results. You go visit an inner-city school, job-training program or community youth center and you meet incredible people doing wonderful things. Then you look at the results from the serious evaluations and you find that these inspiring places are only producing incremental gains.

That’s why I was startled when I received an e-mail message from Roland Fryer, a meticulous Harvard economist. It included this sentence: “The attached study has changed my life as a scientist.”

Fryer and his colleague Will Dobbie have just finished a rigorous assessment of the charter schools operated by the Harlem Children’s Zone. They compared students in these schools to students in New York City as a whole and to comparable students who entered the lottery to get into the Harlem Children’s Zone schools, but weren’t selected.

They found that the Harlem Children’s Zone schools produced “enormous” gains. The typical student entered the charter middle school, Promise Academy, in sixth grade and scored in the 39th percentile among New York City students in math. By the eighth grade, the typical student in the school was in the 74th percentile. The typical student entered the school scoring in the 39th percentile in English Language Arts (verbal ability). By eighth grade, the typical student was in the 53rd percentile...

--snip--

The approach works. Ever since welfare reform, we have had success with intrusive government programs that combine paternalistic leadership, sufficient funding and a ferocious commitment to traditional, middle-class values. We may have found a remedy for the achievement gap. Which city is going to take up the challenge? Omaha? Chicago? Yours?

(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; Government; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: brooks; charterschools; davidbrooks; harlem; theharlemmiracle; urban; welfarereform

1 posted on 05/09/2009 10:03:33 AM PDT by neverdem
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To: neverdem

...Roland Fryer, a meticulous Harvard economist. It included this sentence: “The attached study has changed my life as a scientist.”

Roland, don’t flatter yourself.


2 posted on 05/09/2009 10:09:16 AM PDT by Magic Fingers
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To: neverdem

David Brooks drank the Kool Aid


3 posted on 05/09/2009 10:11:20 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys--Reagan and Bush)
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To: neverdem
Garbage. Just like most of the "charter" schools.

we have had success with intrusive government programs that combine paternalistic leadership, sufficient funding and a

Yes, just like most of the charter schools here have been closed. - abject failures and bastions of corruption.
I suppose you might find one or two somewhere, but the above quote is not going to produce any of that.

If you want success here, fund vouchers and let us go to work.

4 posted on 05/09/2009 10:16:42 AM PDT by bill1952 (Power is an illusion created between those with power - and those without)
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To: neverdem
...students who are performing below grade level spent twice as much time in school as other students in New York City.... They also smash the normal bureaucratic strictures....Assessments are rigorous. Standardized tests are woven into the fabric of school life..... - Brooks' conclusion? Big, intrusive government works!!
5 posted on 05/09/2009 10:19:48 AM PDT by bobsatwork
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To: neverdem

David Brooks is no more a Republican than I am a Democrat.


6 posted on 05/09/2009 10:24:33 AM PDT by Uncle Hal
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To: neverdem

The charter school and private school comparisons to public schools are flawed. Most kids (with parental help) who attend these schools are there because they sought to be there.


7 posted on 05/09/2009 10:24:46 AM PDT by umgud (Look to gov't to solve your everday problems and they'll control your everday life.)
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To: neverdem
What a collection of liberal nonsense. Charter schools do well but only in comparison to the miserable failures of the Democrat controlled government schools. The so called “miracle” that Brooks raves about are schools that are somewhat worse than the average school of the 1950’s and 1960’s but far superior to the total waste of taxpayer money that the public schools are today. Brooks probably does not have any children so he does not understand what is really going on. Outperforming the NYC public schools is not a miracle.
8 posted on 05/09/2009 10:26:35 AM PDT by detective
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To: neverdem

Apparently Brooks has been doing a lot of thinking recently about how conservatives can repackage themselves to appeal to the American public. He is convinced that deep down, people have no real affinity for limited government and in fact kind of like big intrusive government (hence Obama), and that if the Republicans want to get back in the game they have to accept this and rearrange themselves accordingly.

The question is how can the Pubbies do this while still being in some fundamental way conservative. His solution centers on his notion of “social order” (or something like that - he has a particular terms that he uses). And so here we see a perfect example: an “intrusive government program” that combines “paternalistic leadership” with “sufficient funding” yet retains a “ferocious commitment to traditional, middle-class values”.

According to some chatter at NRO, Brooks is working on a book that fleshes out his idea. If so, it will be interesting to see how he distinguishes it from Bush’s failed notion of compassionate conservatism.


9 posted on 05/09/2009 10:34:33 AM PDT by Yardstick
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To: neverdem
"Which city is going to take up the challenge?"

Middle class values? I'm fooled.. take my money please.


10 posted on 05/09/2009 10:52:22 AM PDT by I see my hands (_8(|)
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To: detective
If it is a miracle the liberal educators will find a way to fix that.
11 posted on 05/09/2009 11:10:55 AM PDT by oyez (To the extent veterans read it as an accusation -- and apology is owed(i.e. not given))
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To: neverdem

Democrats don’t care what works

Vanguard High School in Colorado Sptings Colorado is a school with 22% below poverty level and 20% “minority”, with lots of military families (it’s near Fort Carson and Peterson AFB) and lots of parents in Afhanistan and Iraq.

In the annual CSAP tests, this high school has the highest scores in the state. And if you visit, you will be even more impressed by the serious attitudes, courteousness, discipline of the students and staff.

And if they had a hundred years to do nothing but visit schools, neither Barack Obama nor Arne Duncan would ever consider visiting it. Because Vanguard’s philosophy is diametrically opposed to “campus chic.”


12 posted on 05/09/2009 11:24:28 AM PDT by cookcounty (Late-term abortion advocate Barack Obama preaching about torture. How stupid can you get?)
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To: neverdem

Charter schools improve student outcomes over public schools.

Voucher programs improve student outcomes over public schools.

These are great improvements to education that are stopped because they take power away from the unions, Govt workers. The educrats care more about the ‘system’ than about helping children.


13 posted on 05/09/2009 12:43:35 PM PDT by WOSG (Why is Obama trying to bankrupt America with $16 trillion in spending over the next 4 years?)
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To: cookcounty

“Because Vanguard’s philosophy is diametrically opposed to “campus chic.””

What, specifically, are you referring to?


14 posted on 05/09/2009 1:15:46 PM PDT by BobL (Drop a comment: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2180357/posts)
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To: umgud

>> The charter school and private school comparisons to public schools are flawed. Most kids (with parental help) who attend these schools are there because they sought to be there. <<

Read the item and then think again:

The study compared (a) kids in charter schools with (b)non-charter kids who had applied for charter schools. Seems to have been virtually a controlled experiment, since the charter kids were chosen in a lottery. In other words, there was no difference in parents’ motivations between charter kids and non-charter kids.

So unless the lottery was crooked (not an impossibility in New York, I’ll admit!), then your criticism would seem unfounded.


15 posted on 05/09/2009 2:13:51 PM PDT by Hawthorn
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To: neverdem
Thee have frequently been "discoveries" of "schools that work" and typically they rely on some dedicated and inspired individual who is a driving force. So the story here is not unusual.

The problem is, whatever makes the "new discovery" work, it never seems to transplant well, and soon the whole thing sinks back into mediocrity with little but bales of spent goobermint money to mark its passing.

This is the first time I ever heard one of these stories where anyone actaully pimped for "intrusive government" however.

16 posted on 05/09/2009 10:22:04 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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