I have recently posted information about the Harlem Children’s Zone and its CEO Geoffrey Canada. One part of their success has been the significant amount of money they have raised to support their programs from connections to Wall Street financiers.
I must ask, have investment bankers, hedge fund managers, and CEO’s found a new benevolence toward children living in poverty? Throughout our history the captains of industry and finance have given money to improve the plight of the poor. This almost always came with a great price. Their demand to workers was “don’t organize.” To people of color they said, “accept segregation.”
Elements of the New York City finance elite have embraced Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone approach of teaching to the whole child: provide wrap around resources that improve the living conditions of the child and their families. This seems to appeal to our wealthy friends–as long as there are no teacher unions or teacher protection available. Firing teachers without reason or recourse is the expressed modus operandi of the HCZ schools.
Its hard not to be cynical when I look at the recent destruction that Wall Street has done to our economy, driving the poor to even greater desperation. I would hope that these same supporters of HCZ expand their support for universal healthcare, rebuilding communities, family supporting job training and creation, union organizing, work-family supporting policies and much, much more.