Notes from the Now

Paul Tough & Alex Kotlowitz / @chipublib @paultough

In Chicago, Education, University of Chicago on September 16, 2012 at 11:00 am

Here are a few pictures from Monday’s event at the Chicago Public Library with Paul Tough and Alex Kotlowitz.


  • Tough is touring behind his latest book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character which looks to be fascinating and has a number of Chicago connections (Ounce of Prevention, YAP, Roseland, etcetera).  I’ve bought a copy, but am still waiting for UPS to figure out how to deliver it to me.
  • I liked Tough’s book on the HCZ – “Whatever it Takes“, but have been put off by much of the subsequent coverage of HCZ/Canada (Waiting for Superman, etc.), so I approached this with more caution than anything else.
  • The book will be focused on a series of examples (many from Chicago) that go to the question about the “character skills” or socio-emotional supports that children need/develop to survive/thrive.  Kotlowitz did a good job of trying temper the enthusiasm that character skills can solely overcome great social and economic inequities.  Paraphrasing, ‘there is a difference between dusting yourself off and getting up after you take a fall, and trying to do the same while you are being pushed down repeatedly”
  • I wanted more Alex Kotlowitz at the event.  He really just played the part of the questioner, and framed things so that we got a bit of a discussion around the critical subtext – poverty.  Fortunately, he did write a fantastic NYT Op-Ed this week to address these issues (and in the context of the Chicago Teachers Strike).
  • The Moynihan Report (1965) is still controversial.  There’s still a deep undercurrent of debate about how you can discuss the social/economic/political dynamics that underlie generational poverty w/o effectively “blaming the victim”.
  • Tough gave props to the Chicago Consortium on School Research for their leadership in the field.






Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: