Geoffrey Canada Biography Essay

2592 words - 10 pages

Social activist and educator, Geoffrey Canada grew up in poverty and in a neighborhood that was unsafe (, 2011). In the movie, Waiting for Superman, Canada tells how he was an avid reader of comic books and one of his favorite characters was superman because superman always helped the “good” people. Canada stated, “When my mother told me that superman was not real, I began to cry. My tears were not like those of a child who just found out that Santa Claus is not real; but I cried because I became conscious of the fact that no one was coming with enough power to save us from this life of poverty.” Canada goes on to say, “At nine years old, I realized that I wanted to come back and help kids like those of us growing up in these conditions.” Canada, who grew up in a single family home in the Bronx, told The Daily News, “Every class I took from that point forward was really in preparation for trying to come back and make a difference with children in poor communities.” Through his life work, Canada’s goal is to not let poverty get in the way of success (Jones, 2011).
In Geoffrey Canada Biography, found online at, the author informed us that Canada’s under graduate degree is in psychology and sociology from Bowdoin College and he received his Masters in Education from Harvard. The author reported, “Inspired by his formative years, Canada began his career as a teacher in an alternative high school for troubled youth in Boston, Massachusetts.” The author further reported, “In 1983, Canada returned to Harlem to help the children in his old neighborhood. He found work as the program director for the Rheedlen Institute’s Truancy Prevention Program. The program was geared specifically for children between five and twelve years old who had been abused or neglected.” “In 1990, Canada was appointed president of Rheedlen. He expanded the center and renamed it the Harlem Children’s Zone. The 97-block complex began offering tutoring, recreational programs and community outreach. Social workers also provided drug counseling, parenting advice, and basic life skills to the community.” (
From cradle to college to community building is the creed that Geoffrey Canada lives and breathes as the president and CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone. Canada supports and educates children and the families they come from, in the community of Harlem, N.Y., from a child’s birth to college graduation (2009, Hamilton). In his charter schools, Promise Academy I and Promise Academy II, Mr. Canada use innovative and new approaches to educating African-American youth, with a goal of completely closing the achievement gap between African-American youth and their Caucasian counterparts. Lubienski, in his research article, Innovation in Education Markets, states, “Charter schools elevate choice and competition to foster educational innovations. However, a comprehensive review of practices in charter schools indicates that,...

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