Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011

Geoffrey Canada

Geoffrey Canada is an extraordinary innovator and one of my heroes. He has shown time and again that education is the surest path out of poverty. The Harlem Children's Zone Project, which he founded, provides a cradle-to-career continuum of high-quality neighborhood schools and support services for disadvantaged children. It's based on the simple idea that you cannot divorce where kids live from where they learn — and it's the template for President Obama's Promise Neighborhoods program.

When Canada, 59, started HCZ Project 14 years ago, it was a one-block pilot program. Today it covers 100 city blocks and serves 8,000 kids, providing not just a good education but also early-childhood programs, after-school services and guidance to help parents play a key role in their kids' learning. Every day, Canada is driven by a deep belief that all children can succeed, regardless of race, wealth or ZIP code.

Duncan is the U.S. Secretary of Education