Claus von Zastrow has written a very intriguing post over at Public School Insights called Getting Students Ready by 21. It’s about an organization named Ready by 21. In many ways, it’s similar to the Harlem Children’s Zone.
I’ve posted about the Harlem Children’s Zone several times here and like its work. The work of Ready by 21 seems impressive as well as it tries to build a support network for students to deal with some of the issues outside the schoolhouse walls that affect student achievement.
I have to admit, though, I also have similar concerns about both. I wonder if both might relate to parents more as clients rather than partners. I also wonder about what kind of relationships they have with other neighborhood institutions like religious congregations and grassroots community groups — they appear to be primarily social service based.
If they don’t have that kind of grassroots base, I wonder how any kind of real neighborhood transformation will be able to take place. It also puts both organizations in a politically weakened situation where they are at the mercy of wealthy donors without a power base to push for additional resources.
However, I want to emphasize that these concerns might very well have no foundation in reality, and might just be due to my lack of knowledge…