geoffrey canada

geoffrey canada bw


Geoffrey Canada (born January 13, 1952) is an American social activist and educator. Since 1990, Canada has been president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem, New York, an organization which states its goal is to increase high school and college graduation rates among students in Harlem.[1] He is a member of the Board of Directors of The After-School Corporation, a nonprofit organization that describes its aim as expanding educational opportunities for all students. Canada also serves as the Chairman of Children’s Defense Fund‘s Board of Directors.

find/follow his work:

harlem childrens zone


off shoot of harlem children’s zone:


first intro to Geoffrey’s work:

monday, july 5, 2010

charles leadbeater

education innovation in the slums
Charles went looking for radical new forms of education — and found them in the slums of Rio and Kibera, where some of the world’s poorest kids are finding transformative new ways to learn. And this informal, disruptive new kind of school, he says, is what all schools need to become.
vantage point determines everything you see.
  • the question you ask will determine much of the answer that you get
  • where do you look to see what education could become
  • last 20 yrs – go to finland – may be boring and depressive and high suicide rate – but by god they’re doing it right
  • let’s look somewhere else – innovation often comes from best – but also comes from places of need (monkeyhill in rio)
  • where you find the fastest growing young populations of the world
  • 1994 – cdi – owner of 1st laptop in brazil

education works by pull not push 

  • having a compulsory curriculum doesn’t make sense
  • the idea of a curriculum is irrelevant
  • need to start ed by things that make sense to a person in their setting
  • our ed system has a pay off – but way down the pike
waiting is too long if you’re poor
imagine ed system that started from questions not from knowledge to be imparted.. or starts from a game
teach through, attract to learning because it’s a dance, music, whatever project…
attract people through that into learning not adding it on after all the learning has been done and you’ve eaten your cognitive greens
music, etc, as a technology of learning
how do you get learning when there are no teachers... or teachers are teaching another agenda?
find ways through tech
school in a bus
treat learning as something productive – not an analytical activity
trendiest schools do this – that its’ productive – but in poor locations – that’s the only choice
roll out franchises?… why can’t we do it like chinese restaurants. ? there is no chain
mcdonalds scales, chinese spreads
the trouble with staying in improve – not enough teachers
doing more of this won’t lead to deep ed
so that’s why we need
3 more kinds of innovation

1) reinvention:

recognizably schools but look different, big picture, 14 coonscape sonnin in sweden, jaroget in northern queens, highly collab, highly personalized, learning that starts from questions and problems
but because so many issues are just in schools – they’re in family and community – also need

2) efforts to supplement:

italy reggio, harlem childrens – geoffrey canada, change culture of 10000 families in harlem;
completely new and radical thinking , radicalism of the kind we haven’t imagined

3) transform:

can imagine getting info to people in new and different ways
schoolification of the world
radical thinking is more possible and more needed than ever..
critique from Ravitch: geoffrey-canada-just-tell-the-truth/
interview by Juliean Bond 2009

35 min – after bobby kennedy – thought there’d never be equality.. thought they’d kill anyone who talked about it

37 min – growing up in the s broncs – we knew we were poor, and that was fine.. we knew it was tough, and that was fine.. but we didn’t know there was evil

40 min – we knew there were monsters.. but we also thought there could be heroes.. then handguns come out..

friendship was measurable… who would get hurt for you

42 min – one thing about reading.. i found out there were other people who didn’t live like us.. i thought.. where are the adults to come in and save us…. when i found out there was no superman… i was asking for someone to come in and save us.. i thought… there ought to be someone.. i knew at 11/12 that’s what i was going to do with my life

45 min – this yr spending 68 mill in harlem (children zone) in several years.. will be spending a couple hundred million.. i’m not going to play along the margins… i’m going to fix it.. we have to solve each one of these areas.. everytime you pealed one thing off there was another.. or another group of kids.. so how to help all kids.. didn’t know where the money was going to come from.. but i got too old..  people are as desperately behind today as when i was growing up in 50s… i said.. we could figure out how to do this..

first goal – i want to be a teacher and save 20 kids… and when on from there.

48 min – on leaving an area out – asthma.. new one today is obesity

key ingredients – same as 25 yrs ago.. we didn’t know handgun violence would be so key.. but we knew violence.. gets back to brown vs board and ed…

50 min – all barriers are interconnected.. have to remove them all… my frustration.. all we’re doing is just average.. nothing great.. just trying to get average for these kids.. we should have this w/o people thinking it’s some great thing