We are pleased to share information on an extraordinarily successful charter school program run by the Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ), a community-based non-profit organization in one of the poorest neighborhoods of New York City. Author Paul Tough, who profiles the HCZ in the recent book Whatever it Takes, notes that the program is distinguished by its “holistic approach, following children from cradle to college,” and providing the same types of stimulation and support that surround middle-class kids. President Obama has recently proposed to replicate the HCZ model in 20 cities across the country through new public-private partnerships. What follows is the abstract of a recent evaluation of the HCZ schools conducted by researchers at Harvard University, a highly positive commentary by David Brooks of the New York Times, and a blog post written by Aaron Pallas critiquing Brooks’ article. We also include a link to three short video tours of the HCZ’s charter schools in Harlem. Taken together, these materials suggest that whether or not one finds the HCZ to be “miraculous,” as Brooks points out, it is clear that charter schools—which are by definition self-managed and free to experiment with new approaches—are helping to broaden the horizon of what is possible in raising the achievement of poor children.

Harvard University | Are High-Quality Schools Enough to Close the Achievement Gap?

The New York Times | The Harlem Miracle

Gotham School Blog | Just How Gullible is David Brooks?

Harlem Children Zone | Video Tour of Promise Academy Charter Schools