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Who Knew That Our Kennedy Cluster Project Was 'Similar' to the Harlem Children's Zone?

A draft Montgomery County report says it is.

Recently, I learned from Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal that on Tuesday he will host a meeting to discuss “unfinished business” impacting the lives of African Americans in Montgomery County. Here are details for those interested in attending the meeting:

6:00 pm

Stella B. Werner Council Office Building

6th Floor Conference Room

100 Maryland Avenue Rockville, MD

RSVP Walton Harris

240-777-7945

Walton.Harris@montgomerycountymd.gov.

“Unfinished Business” is the title of a draft report, which I assume was
authored by Leventhal. Click here to read it.

The report is full of interesting facts about African Americans living in Montgomery County. But the report also touches on a few surprises. For example, I did not realize that the county’s first public charter school, the Community Montessori Charter School, is a “trial” school to determine if such schools are able to eliminate academic achievement gaps. I wonder how they plan to achieve a goal that no one else in the county has achieved. Click here to learn more about Montgomery County Public Schools' first charter school.

But the other surprise that caught my attention is this notion that the Kennedy Cluster Project is “similar” to the Harlem Children’s Zone. Really!

If you’re sitting at your computer reading this blog stop and google "Harlem Children’s Zone (HCZ)." 

One link that should come up is this one. If you scroll through to page 23 you will notice that HCZ has a boatload of money—nearly $250 million in total support and revenue as of June 30, 2011.

Now, google the "Kennedy Cluster Project budget."

This link should come up.

If you scroll to page 9 you will see $126,720 allocated to the project. 

I’m sure there are other bucks allocated to the project. But I doubt one can find more than $500,000. Regardless, it does not take a budget genius to quickly figure out that someone is seriously out-to-lunch if they believe the Kennedy Cluster and HCZ efforts are “similar.” 

Now, this Kennedy Cluster Project—MCPS link might also come up. One can immediately tell that the Kennedy project has been around since 2007. Not a long time, but not bad as projects go.

Now, google "Kennedy Cluster Project and research."  

This MCPS link should come up.

Readers will find some demographics about children living in the Kennedy cluster, but that’s about it. No outcomes. There are direct implications that the Kennedy project will eliminate academic achievement gaps, but my googling failed to find any public documents laying out outcomes or any specific evidence that the project has closed gaps.

One last google. Google HCZ and research outcomes. Here are some of the links that you might come up:

http://www.hcz.org/index.php/our-results

http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2010/07/20-hcz-whitehurst

http://www.economics.harvard.edu/faculty/fryer/files/hcz%204.15.2009.pdf

It does not take much effort to figure out that there is a huge body of developing evidence on the impacts of the HCZ. And some of that evidence is captured in Paul Tough’s book Whatever It Takes (2008). It's a great book and I would recommend that folks in MCPS and elsewhere in the county read it. (Tough is the author of the book on "grit" that MCPS is crazed about.)

And the HCZ research is public. Available. Easy to figure out. And so how is
this similar to the Kennedy Cluster project?

It isn't. Unless you live in some kind of fairytale—make-believe dreamland—called Montgomery County.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

ilkunta February 16, 2013 at 02:13 PM
Im familiar with Canad and the HCZ. Kennedy cluster isnt anythiing like it and for it be compared is BS. Canada takes care of the kids from age 2 to 18. He takes care of their parents/guardians/grandparents. He feeds not only the kids but their families Hell if needed Im sure they do laundry. The point of it all, of all the extra is that Canada is giving support so THERE IS NO EXCUSE for the children and parents to not focus on schoolwork .

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