Neighborhoods and Education Reform – Purpose Built Communities in the Huffington Post

Our leadership recently published two pieces in the Huffington post about issues that are critical to our nation’s future – the importance of investing in neighborhoods and how the current education reform debate is missing the point. The first piece was co-authored by our Executive Board Chair Shirley Franklin and our President Carol Naughton. The second piece is by Shirley Franklin.

In “America Thrives When Neighborhoods Thrive,” Shirley Franklin and Carol Naughton write:

Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities
Carol Naughton, President of Purpose Built Communities

Private sector leaders in 16 cities across the country are doing this vital, long-term work. Some work in “red” states, some in “blue” states. What they all have in common is a desire to work with best-in-class partners to transform neighborhoods of concentrated poverty into healthy, mixed-income neighborhoods with deep, durable channels for low income residents to rise out of poverty. The investments in housing, education and wellness are sustained by a “community quarterback,” a nonprofit dedicated solely to the transformation of a specific neighborhood, aligning resources and partners to focus on serving local residents, families and children while attracting new investment and residents over time. Now more than ever, people are looking for solutions that work. The Purpose Built Communities Model works. Not only that, it is being implemented by private sector leaders in cities that look very different from each other from coast to coast. We are looking for more leaders to support in this difficult but effective work.

In “Education Reform Debate Misses the Point,” Shirley Franklin writes:

Fort Worth, Texas
Shirley Franklin, Executive Board Chair of Purpose Built Communities

Are charter schools good or bad for low-income children of color? It’s a question that will come up a lot in an increasingly polarized political environment where a sitting Vice President of the United States needed to vote to break a tie over the confirmation of the new Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos. It also happens to be the wrong question. The type of public school – traditional or charter – is not where we should be spending our energy. The right question to ask, particularly for public schools in low-income urban neighborhoods, is the following: Is my local public school, charter, traditional or some other variation, connected to neighborhood initiatives in housing and community wellness? Is there a larger revitalization strategy for the neighborhood that takes these essential pillars of a healthy neighborhood into account? In other words, is there a holistic strategy to break the cycle of inter-generational poverty?

Read the pieces in their entirety here and here.