Education is a very important element in the society. The quality of education in a given society determines the kind and quality of life led by its people. There have been different models proposed to reform schools in order to improve the quality of education given to the child. There are two books which present the two major practical models which have been applied to improve the quality of education in public schools. The two books include Whatever It Takes and Work Hard, Be Nice. In this paper we will compare the two models presented in the books, discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and also show how they can be applied in reforming Philadelphian public education.
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Comparing and Contrasting the KIPP and HCZ Models
The books Whatever it Takes and Work Hard, Be Nice presents different models which can be used in reforming schools. Mr. Geoffrey Canada has been the Chief Executive Officer of Harlem Children's Zone since 1900 and he has extensively incorporated a number of reform initiatives in the institution to help children from poor backgrounds (Tough, 2009, p. 34). After establishing the zone in the year 1990, Mr. Canada has transformed the organization by improving and expanding its scope and ability by successfully developing a plan focusing on Harlem's 24-block area. This Zone has since then been closely following the academic life and careers of the youths from the zone. Today Harlem has expanded to about 97 blocks.
Looking at Canada's mission, the agenda was to transform all the lives of the young individuals in the neighborhood. He was to do this by offering a pathway to proper education and provision of net social safety from the time of birth then all through to college. During the launch of this Harlem's mission, Mr. Canada believed strongly that this goal was achievable and nothing could stop the approach he had planned to adopt (Tough, 2009, p. 46). His goal has remained offering the best help to the youth in the 'Zone' and by so doing presenting the best opportunities to lower and middle class households in Harlem. In order to achieve these goals in any society, the best approach proposed by Geoffrey Canada is to employ whatever it takes and make sure every child has benefited from this process.
Looking at Canada's model towards education reformation, it is notable that the Harlem idea was motivated by his past life full of poverty and dissatisfaction. Having initiated the idea, Mr. Canada made sure he coordinated the efforts of hundreds of men who were devoted to the idea. This led to a situation whereby all the needs of the entire society were carefully addressed thereby changing the situations and conditions faced in the Harlem society (Tough, 2009, p. 58). As analyzed in Paul Tough's book, Harlem Children's Home has currently been in a position of creating interconnected pipelines of social service programs and education opportunity from the time of birth all the way to college to over ten thousand children in Harlem. This idea has currently been referred to as the most ambitious experiments in our society ever attempted.
Today it is notable that Mr. Canada and the Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) has become a model used nationally as the subject of many profiles in media affairs. This work is emulated in redesigning ways through which issues of health and other social issues affecting the society (Tough, 2009, p. 86). The HCZ model is therefore used as a renaissance approach to address the issues of education. Through the use of this model, it can be possible to end poverty, improve education, and also address other issues such as health. Basically, different parts of the world are adopting the model to improve schools.
On the other hand, the book Work Hard, Be Nice: How Two Inspired Teachers Created the Most Promising Schools in America also presents a different model used to reform schools and improve the quality of education. This book written by Levin and Feinberg has widely been used to improve the quality of schools and how education is offered. Many people in the United States used to believe that children from low-level income cannot perform any better in schools. This is compared with how the ballerinas would only be expected to excel and perform better in football (Mathews, 2009, p. 35). Despite the idea, the author delves into the KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) as presented by Levin and Feinberg and follows it through the enterprise founders.
Dave Levin and Mike Feinberg begin by explaining some of the weaknesses and controversies existing in the current education programs. Fortunately, for children from low-income families, we should note that it would be possible to have proper performance if children are provided with proper mentors, be given the right incentives, and offer them unrestrained enthusiasm (Mathews, 2009, p. 86). These values can successfully be provided by the teachers once they have been given appropriate encouragement and make sure they are focused on the success of the learner.
The KIPP model therefore suggests that some of the children in the country from poor backgrounds can successfully surpass the specific expectation of most of the public schools. The author of the text therefore emphasizes that the stakes proposed by Levin and Feinberg with their KIPP program is that the teacher would be required to be contently involved with the families and the children (Mathews, 2009, p. 92). For example, we have a situation whereby a mother decides to take of the television set away from the child's apartment because this would make it impossible for him to watch it. This kind of approach presented in the book makes it very useful in helping improve the learning process. Therefore knowledge is the beginning of power especially in the learning process.
From the above comparison and analysis, we should observe that the two texts propose different models which can significantly be adopted to improve the learning process and the quality of information provided in public schools. The books have given succinct details about the founders thereby explaining how they viewed the approaches as significant, and how they can result in the best performance in the learning process (Mathews, 2009, p. 109). Despite the different backgrounds of the learners, the main goal should be to promote the process and make sure every student has benefited significantly. That being the case, such models can be adopted in different societies to improve the learning process.
It is agreeable that both the KIPP and HCZ models have a number of strengths and weaknesses. These quality issues should be clearly explained and analyzed whenever deciding to adopt one model and not the other. For instance, the KIPP model is very significant because it explains the specific roles of the teacher in the learning process and how he can be in a position of improving the child's performance. The model goes further to explain the impacts of the environment in the learning process and how it should be addressed accordingly. Despite somebody's background, any child can perform better and achieve great success when the model is applied (Mathews, 2009, p. 107). On the contrary, this model does not consider issues such as intelligent quotient (IQ) of the child and other societal influences which can impact or determine the learning process. Different learners have different needs and therefore this model should not be assumed to be perfect.
The HCZ model is also a strong approach because it provides the learner with the necessary potentials and material support, especially those from poor backgrounds. The employment of available resources makes it possible to empower the child thus widening his ability to learn and achieve. This worked for Harlem and can work elsewhere. However, while this model is very significant and effective, it also fails to consider the economic status of a region. Such issues should therefore be analyzed whenever selecting a given model to bring reforms in the learning process (Mathews, 2009, p. 63). Trying to adopt these models for Philadelphia, it would be necessary to look at the situation faced and determine the best approach to employ in the process. In Philadelphia, there are great instances of inner-city issues, high levels of poverty and presence of many African-American Students.
From the above discussions and comparisons, I would propose Mr. Geoffrey Canada's Harlem Children's Zone (HCZ) model because it addresses the issue of poverty in the society thereby empowering the child to achieve his or her potential through the learning process. Such strengths of the model thereby make it effective in ensuring the very best gains are obtained after reforming the learning process in Philadelphia. As well, it would be better to integrate these two models so that the best gains can be realized from the learning process. As presented by Levin and Feinberg, the KIPP model is significant and employs knowledge and total commitment to achieve the required goals from the learning process (Mathews, 2009, p. 35). The main idea behind the learning process is to improve the welfare of the learner and therefore the two models can effectively be integrated to realize the best gains from public education in Philadelphia.
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