Posted by Elena del Valle on February 2, 2011
By Laura Scheiber
Co-author Unequal Fortunes
Laura Scheiber, co-author, Unequal Fortunes
Arthur Levine and I recently wrote a book called Unequal Fortunes: Snapshots from the South Bronx (see Fellowship foundation leader, assistant examine challenges faced by South Bronx youth). It focuses on three Latino teenagers coming of age in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the nation. For ten years Carlos, Leo, and Juan Carlos shared their worlds with us. It was a scary place where kids went to more funerals than graduation parties. Drug dealers were on every corner and gangs ruled the streets. Kids were forced to go to local schools with inadequate resources, under-qualified teachers, and a high staff turnover rate. The outcome was not surprising: half of the children in the neighborhood would never graduate from high school. By 16 years old, Carlos, Leo and Juan Carlos could count on one hand the number of friends who graduated from high school. Their other friends were either working minimum-wage jobs, unemployed, in jail, or dead.
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Posted by Elena del Valle on January 10, 2011
Arthur Levine, Ph.D, Juan Carlos Reyes and Laura Scheiber
Photos: Emile Wamsteker, Juan Carlos Reyes, Laura Scheiber
A podcast interview with Arthur Levine, Ph.D., president, The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation, Juan Carlos Reyes, executive assistant to the president, Teachers College and Laura Scheiber, doctoral student in Comparative and International Education, Teachers College, Columbia University, is available in the Podcast Section of Hispanic Marketing & Public Relations, HispanicMPR.com. During the podcast, they discuss Levine and Scheiber’s recently published book (see Fellowship foundation leader, assistant examine challenges faced by South Bronx youth) with Elena del Valle, host of the HispanicMPR.com podcast.
Arthur is the sixth president of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation where he has been since 2006. Prior to that he was president and professor of education at Teachers College, Columbia University from 1994 to 2006. He also previously served as a faculty member and chair of the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Arthur is co-author of Unequal Fortunes Snapshots from the South Bronx.
Juan Carlos Reyes is the executive assistant to the president at Teachers College. He, a student at Baruch College, has plans to graduate this year in Political Science. His next step will be working toward making a difference in the lives of children growing up in conditions similar to his childhood neighborhood.
Laura is a Fulbright grant recipient, her doctoral research focuses on innovative leaders of violence prevention and youth empowerment initiatives in Brazil. She earned a M.A. at Teachers College, specializing in international educational development and adult education, and a bachelors degree in psychology from Ohio University. A former anchor for AfterED news, she has also taught college-level courses on child development.
To listen to the interview, scroll down until you see “Podcast” on the right hand side, then select “HMPR Arthur Levine, Ph.D., Juan Carlos Reyes, Laura Scheiber” click on the play button below or download the MP3 file to your iPod or MP3 player to listen on the go, in your car or at home. To download it, click on the arrow of the recording you wish to copy and save it to disk. The podcast will remain listed in the January 2011 section of the podcast archive.
Posted by Elena del Valle on October 15, 2010
Unequal Fortunes book cover
Photo Arthur Levine: Emile Wamsteker
Arthur Levine has a post doctorate degree and heads the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation. Forty years ago he grew up in the Bronx in New York City. In Unequal Fortunes Snapshots from the South Bronx (Teachers College Press, $24.95) Levine and Laura Scheiber, his research assistant, set out to look at the obstacles and opportunities for young people in tough neighborhoods like the South Bronx. In the 170-page softcover book published this summer they discuss the role of drugs, crime, violence and poor schools in the former educator’s neighborhood.
As part of the decade long project they revisited the South Bronx and compared his life in the 1960s with that of a group of Latino teenagers in the same neighborhood today. Among the questions they pondered are whether low income urban schools are as bad as some think; what life is like for disadvantaged children growing up in low income neighborhoods; and why people living on the same block 40 years apart have such unequal chances in life. The book is divided into three main sections: Arthur’s Story, Leo’s Story and What Changed?
Leonel Disla, one of the young men in the group they examined, died a violent death at the hands of the police. The authors examine what happened to the young man and explore the ways in which today’s society may have failed him. As part of their process they share information with readers about the youth’s family and friends as well as what they believe were his hopes and fears. Along the way they look at the devastating effects of poverty and racism like low-wage, dead-end jobs, inadequate housing, high crime rates, substandard schools, violence, drugs, a broken legal system, prison, and funerals of the underaged.
In Unequal Fortunes, the authors explore what they believe is the role of communities in shaping the destiny of young people and what they think could be done to ensure that more young people from low-income, high-crime communities can succeed in school, college, and life. At the same time, they struggle to explain why the lives of the two people were so dramatically different.
According to the book’s Prologue, the authors believe over time the prospect of the American Dream has diminished for many, especially the poor. They are convinced that although education is the best way out of poverty in America today youth in impoverished neighborhoods must overcome many difficult barriers on their way to reaching the American Dream.
Author Arthur Levine, Ph.D.
Levine is president emeritus of Teachers College, Columbia University. He also previously served as a faculty member and chair of the Institute for Educational Management at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (1989-1994), president of Bradford College (1982-89), and senior fellow at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education (1975-82). Scheiber is a Ph.D. candidate in Comparative and International Education at Teachers College, Columbia University
Click here to buy Unequal Fortunes