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Saturday, May 14, 2011

An Educational Superhero

Time magazine recently published its 2011 World's Most Influential People. Geoffrey Canada, is the Founder of Harlem's Children's Zone Project, a non profit organization that has become a model for what many believe the educational system should strive to become. I first saw Mr. Canada on a 60 Minutes episode several years ago. The movie Waiting for Superman highlights his school. Based on the premise that education is the greatest path to success, Mr. Canada manages to educate a child for $5,000 a year. In 2010, 90% of his 254 senior graduates went to college. This class obtained 6.4 million dollars in scholarships. There is a strict dress code and only a 3 week summer vacation. Tuition is free. Money is raised privately.

Any criminal defense attorney, especially one that handles cases involving juveniles, understands the correlation between education and crime. Some statistics show that high school dropouts are 3.5 times more likely to be arrested and more that eight times likely to be incarcerated.  While the news of the week seems to be focused on a Connecticut high school suspending a student when he taped letters on the side of the school building in an effort to ask another student to prom, I felt more inclined to mention Geoffrey Canada. This is a remarkable story.

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