The Oxbridge Lecture
Whiles I am a beggar, I will rail
And say there is no sin but to be rich;
And being rich, my virtue then shall be
To say there is no vice but beggary.
- King John II, i, 593
The Foundation's vision is articulated in a lecture given at All Souls College, Oxford University by Dr. Alan Curtis, President of the Foundation. Variations on the lecture have been given at the Institute of Criminology, Cambridge University; the Center for Urban Studies at the Sorbonne in Paris; and at many othe national and international forums. We include here a synthesis of these lectures.
- What Doesn't Work?
- What Works?
- National Policy
- The Boys in the Hood or the Boys on the Hill?
- Campaign Finance Reform
- Communicating What Works
- Common Ground for Political Alliance
- Notes and Sources
In the late 1960s after the big-city riots in America, the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (the Kerner Riot Commission) and the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence (the National Violence Commission) submitted their final reports to President Johnson. I would like to summarize trends in race, poverty, inequality, crime, prison building and justice in America since the Kerner Commission and Violence Commission, point out policy for the inner city and the truly disadvantaged that has and has not worked, and suggest ways in which we can overcome the disconnect in America between knowledge and action, by replicating what works to scale in politically feasible ways.
There are many indicators of progress since the 1960s. For example, among African-Americans and Hispanics, the middle class has expanded, entrepreneurship has increased and there has been a dramatic rise in the number of locally-elected officials.1
Yet there also have been many negatives. American leaders and media fail to sufficiently recognize them. Consider just a few:
During the 1980s, child poverty increased to nearly 25%. During the 1990s, child poverty dropped to about 17%, but in 2001 the trend reversed and child poverty again increased. Today, after almost a decade of economic expansion, the only super power in the world still has about 1 out of every 5 children aged 5 and under living in poverty, according to the National Center for Children and Poverty at Columbia University.2 Further, nearly 2 of 5 live in low income households. That is incomprehensible. By comparison, the corresponding child poverty rate is about 15% in Canada, 12% in Japan, 7% in France, 4% in Belgium and 2% in Finland. Today, we have phenomenal prosperity in the United States. Yet the poor are barely better off than in the 1980s, in spite of the economic boom of the 1990s. And the extremely poor are worse off.3
American leaders and media pundits in Washington boast of an unemployment rate of less than 5%, up from 3.6% in 2000. Yet the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, DC estimates that the rate of underemployment is about 8.9% when one takes into account official unemployment rates, the number of people who have stopped trying to find jobs and who therefore are not counted, and persons working part-time who want to work full time. (Much of this underemployment is associated with temporary jobs that offer few, if any, benefits.) The United States Department of Labor has concluded, "The employment rate for out-of-school youth in high-poverty areas typically is less than 50 percent." The Center for Community Change in Washington, DC has estimated that the "jobs gap" is about 4.4 million jobs nationally. Of that, perhaps half of the jobs needed are in the inner city.4
It is also true that, during the trickle-down, supply-side economics that dominated the 1980s in America, the rich got richer and the poor got poorer, according to conservative author Kevin Phillips and many others. The working class also got poorer. The middle class stayed about the same, so it lost ground to the rich. This trend continues to the present. 5
In the 1990s, the large income gaps of the 1980s actually widened, with the gap accelerating during the first half-decade of the new millennium. The incomes of the best off Americans rose twice as fast as those of middle-income Americans, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The gap between rich and working income Americans rose even more. During the two decades from 1980 to 2000, the poorest 20 percent saw their incomes rise, on average 0.55 percent per year, while the richest 1 percent saw their incomes grow by 7.55 percent per year. In Washington, DC during the overall economic boom from 1990 to 1999, income in rich (80th percentile) households increased by 8%, in middle class (median) households increased by 5% and in poor (20th percentile) decreased by 1%. Income differences between the haves and the have-nots are growing faster in America than in any industrialized democracy. In countries where reliable information exists, the United States is second only to Russia in having the smallest middle class and highest poverty rates. While much is made of the improved economy since the bursting of the tech bubble and 9/11, The Economic Policy Institute estimates that the renewal of trickle-down economic policy since 2001 has generated no new private sector jobs. All job growth is related to government expenditures, primarily military spending increases. 6
The increase in wealth inequality during the Reagan years is virtually unprecedented. The only comparable period in America in the twentieth century was 1922-1929, before the Great Depression. During the 1980s, 99% of the wealth gained went to the top 20% of wealth holders in America -- and the top 1% gained 62% of that. The median wealth of nonwhite American citizens actually fell during the 1980s. The average level of wealth of an African-American family in America today is about one-tenth of an average white family. Wealth inequality is much worse in the United States than in countries traditionally thought of as "class ridden," like the United Kingdom.7
We know that, in 1980, the average corporate CEO earned 42 times as much as the average factory worker. We know that by 2000, and after the union busting of the 1980s, the average corporate CEO earned 419 times as much as the average worker. By 2005, the average Fortune 500 CEO earned 443 times the earnings of the average worker, when one takes into consideration benefit cuts. At some corporations, the difference in compensation rates is even more striking, such as Wal-Mart, where the CEO earns 871 times as much as the average U.S. Wal-Mart worker and 50,000 times that of Chinese contractors. 8
We know that, according to Gary Orfield and his colleagues at the Harvard School of Education, America is resegregating in its neighborhoods and schools. Over two-thirds of all African-American and Hispanic students in urban areas attend predominantly segregated schools. Over two-thirds of those students cannot achieve minimally acceptable scores on standardized tests.
We know that because of the emphasis on standardized testing, many middle school youths are being held back as much as two years, meaning that many will reach high school at age 16, and too old to complete high school by mandatory age cut-offs (usually 19). 9
We know that today the states spend more on prison building than on higher education construction, whereas 20 years ago the opposite was true.10
We know that, in the 1980s, prison building became our national housing policy for the poor. We more than quadrupled the number of prison cells, at the same time we reduced appropriations for housing the poor at the federal level by over 80%. The sound bite in America today is 2 million in the new millennium. That is the number of people incarcerated in America, with an additional 5 million under supervision, as of 2003. The question has been asked, “if prisons are such a great deterrent to crime, why do we need to continue to construct them. The answer, of course, is that they are not a deterrent, they are merely storage for those who have committed crimes. 11
We know that, in the early 1990s, 1 out of every 4 young African-American men in America was in prison, on probation or on parole at any one time, according to the Sentencing Project in Washington, DC. That is a stunning statistic. Yet today and after a Presidential Commission on Race that did little in terms of practical policy impact, 1 out of every 3 young African-American men is in prison, on probation or on parole at any one time in America. In big cities, the number is 1 out of every 2.12 In 1980, 2 percent of African-American men were incarcerated. As of 2005, nearly 6 percent are. Similarly, we know from Professor Milton Friedman, the conservative economist, that the rate of incarceration of African-American men in America in 1999 was 4 times greater than the rate of incarceration of black men in pre-Mandela, apartheid South Africa. Nonetheless, the fastest growing group of male prison inmates consists of Latinos.13
One of the key reasons for this is the racial bias in our juvenile and criminal justice systems, including racial profiling by police and mandatory minimum sentences for drugs. For example, sentences for crack cocaine, used disproportionately by minorities, are much harsher than sentences for powder cocaine used disproportionately by whites. As a result of these and related practices, America's prisons are disproportionately populated by minorities.14
At the same time, prison building has become a job generating, economic development policy for rural white Americans who now send lobbyists with 6-figure incomes to Washington to fight for still more prisons, as part of the emerging prison-industrial complex.15
Yet we know, based on some of the most prestigious American studies of prison building to date, for example, by a panel of the National Academy of Science, that the criminal justice response to crime is, at most, running in place. To illustrate, in spite of recent declines, rates of violent crime and fear were roughly the same in 1999 as in 1969, when the National Violence Commission released its report.16
Lack of Knowledge?
Based on these trends in unemployment, child poverty, income, wealth, inequality, wages, resegregation, education, housing, prison building, racial bias, sentencing and white economic development through the prison-industrial complex, we can observe at least 2 breaches in the economic and social fabric of America as we enter the new millennium. The first breach, the one most talked about, is between those who have been left behind in the inner city, as well as those living in rural poverty, on one hand, and the rest of us, on the other. The second breach, not nearly discussed enough, because many politicians are afraid to touch it and much of the media has minimal interest, is the growing income and wealth gap between the poor, the working class and large portions of the middle class, on the one hand, and the rich and super rich, on the other hand.
What Can We Do to Repair These Breaches?
Part of the answer can be found in the public response in America after the 1992 riots in South Central Los Angeles associated with the verdict in the first Rodney King trial. A The New York Times/CBS poll asked a national sample of Americans whether they would be willing to spend more on initiatives that worked in the inner city, especially on education and employment, even if it meant increased taxes. A majority of those polled answered yes. The next question in the poll was, "What is the major obstacle against doing more?" A majority of those polled around the nation said "lack of knowledge."17
Americans just don't believe we know what works.
But that is not true. To a considerable extent since the Kerner Riot Commission and National Violence Commission, we have learned a great deal about what doesn't work and what does work, based on scientific studies and careful evaluations. It therefore would make sense to stop doing what doesn't work and start doing what does work, but at a scale equal to the dimensions of the problem, to quote the Kerner Commission.
Unfortunately, that seems too rational a policy right now for most American politicians and media.
Let me redundant talk a bit more about what doesn't work and then about what works. My criteria for judging what works are 1) whether a policy or program has proven effective based on scientific evaluation 18 and 2) whether a policy or program reduces inequality in America.
I already have suggested that trickle-down, supply-side economics doesn't work -- except, of course, for the rich. One part of supply-side economics in the 1980's was the Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA). We know from evaluations commissioned by the United States Department of Labor that JTPA failed for high school dropouts. Grossly underfunded, JTPA was more a "work first" than a "training first" program. Another form of supply-side economics is the Enterprise Zone, which we imported from England. Enterprise Zones are the notion that, for example, if you provide enough tax breaks, corporations will move to South Central Los Angeles and employ the young African-American men who rioted in 1992. It didn't happen. The failure of Enterprise Zones is carefully documented -- for example, by the Urban Institute in Washington, DC and by the United States General Accounting Office. The failure also is well recorded in conservative journals like the Economist and Business Week. Among other reasons given by corporations for why they would not move back and employ inner-city youth was the opinion that youth were not adequately trained.19 (Hence, the need for "training first" programs for the hardest to employ at a time when the fashion is "work first.")
I also have suggested that prison building has not been particularly cost-effective. But has not crime gone down in America at the same time that prison building has surged? Though violent crime is again on the increase, in the period from 1993 to 2004, F.B.I.-reported violent crime went down in many if not most big cities. What are the reasons, based on the best studies and evaluations available? Two leading (and interrelated) reasons have been the booming economy and the waning of the crack epidemic. As the economy stagnated in 2005, crime began to again increase, particularly in medium size cities. Community-based groups appear to have been successful in some places, like Boston. The Brady bill, which controlled access to handguns by ex-offenders, appeared to have a national impact. So did community-based, problem-oriented policing (but not "zero-tolerance" policing). Indeed, the current increase in crime is probably related to the significant shift in funding away from community policing to homeland security. Some of the decline in violent crime can in fact be explained by increased imprisonment (estimates are in the range of about 5% to about 30%). But the impact of prison building has been overstated by politicians and the media. And, as the Reverend Jesse Jackson likes to say, it costs more to go to jail than to Yale.20
Nor has the recent fad of boot camps been successful. Its failure has been documented well in excellent studies by the University of Maryland that have been published by the United States Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice.21
So much for a few examples of what doesn't work. In the 1980s and 1990s, a false political rhetoric has been used to sugar coat policies that don't work. Here I refer to phrases such as voluntarism, partnership, self sufficiency, empowerment and "faith based." Often, these are helpful concepts at the street level -- if applied with wisdom and discretion. But my concern is with their abuse by political ideologues.
For example, a highly-publicized 1997 national summit on voluntarism has been viewed with skepticism by many observers. The summit was held in Philadelphia. At the time of the summit, The New York Times interviewed residents in the impoverished Logan neighborhood of North Philadelphia. One resident thought that summit was a bit "naive" because "you need a certain expertise among the volunteers, and in communities like Logan, people don't have the expertise." The director of a non-profit community program in the neighborhood observed, "Volunteering is really good, but people need a program to volunteer for, and in order to do that, you have to have dollars." Pablo Eisenberg, former Executive Director of the Center for Community Change and now a Senior Fellow at the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute, concluded that "no matter whether you attract lots of volunteers, money is still the most important ingredient in reducing poverty and helping poor people. You need money even to organize volunteers." In an article on the new national organization created at the Philadelphia summit, Youth Today magazine asked whether the organization was "delivering for youth or fatally flawed." The executive director of one Midwest nonprofit community group concluded that, after 2 years, the new creation was "long on talk and hoopla and short on doing." A national nonprofit executive director called it "irrelevant window dressing." Along the same lines, after describing how volunteerism increases the gap between rich and poor (because most volunteers tend to stay in their immediate social and economic world), Sarah Mosle concludes a Sunday New York Times article by showing that public resources must drive private volunteerism: "Government spending causes volunteering. You can't have a volunteer in a school without a schoolhouse. Government institution-building increases volunteering."22
Or take an international comparison. In the early 1990s, America won the war in the Persian Gulf because of large numbers of well-trained professional staff, large numbers of well-trained support staff and a huge amount of high-quality equipment. Yet, when it comes to the inner city and the truly disadvantaged, we are told that there is not enough money for adequate and adequately-paid professional staff (the average community worker earns $23,000), adequate and adequately-paid support staff, and good equipment, like computers and facilities in public schools and at the headquarters of the inner-city, grassroots community-based nonprofit organizations that are responsible for a great deal of what works. Instead, we are told that, for example, a grassroots community group ought to get grants from the public and private sectors for, say, 18 to 24 months. Then it ought to convert into "self-sufficient" operations by using a lot of (often poorly trained) volunteers from suburbia who "are here to help you." Volunteers should be combined with "partnerships" and "coalition building" among other financially competing and often penurious groups in the inner city. This, we are told, will somehow lead to the "empowerment" of our neighborhoods and our schools.
Well, of course, it doesn't work that way -- as anyone who labors in the trenches knows. This is the rhetoric of politicians who have a double standard. They are not prepared, financially or morally, to invest in our human capital, in our children and youth.
Similarly, it presently is fashionable in the private and public sectors to make grants to "faith-based" nonprofit groups. Yet no scientific evidence exists to prove that "faith-based" nonprofit organizations perform better than secular nonprofit organizations.
Case studies by the Eisenhower Foundation underscore that "faith-based" groups have some potential, but not at the expense of secular groups. For example, one of the grassroots organizations presently receiving Foundation funding is secular, but its vision, energy and creativity come in part from the values of the local chief of police, who is an ordained minister. Yet success by this group also is greatly based on sound management and the hard work of secular civilians and police. Another organization that hosted an Eisenhower replication was secular, but the executive director was an ordained minister. The evaluation of this replication showed mixed results, particularly because management and relations with the community were not as sound as they might have been. A third group with which we replicated was faith-based. Importantly to us, the nun who ran it also was a very effective manager and received the cooperation of the police. A final illustration was a group led by another member of the clergy. This replication was an implementation failure, not because of any "faith-based" status, but because a new police chief would not necessarily agree to assign officers to the program as local match.
These case studies suggest that the keys to success are not necessarily based on secular versus "faith-based." More likely, one key is whether a grassroots nonprofit group has sound institutional capacity, for example, in terms of board leadership, staff management and good relationships with the community. Another key is whether the group can change the attitudes and behavior of youth into more positive directions. This requires "tough love," social support and perseverance. "Tough love" usually involves "doing the right thing," which has a moral imperative to it. But such a moral imperative is not by definition linked to a particular religion, as successes like the Argus Community, Delancey Street, the Dorchester Youth Collaborative and Job Corps have demonstrated. (See below.)
To create a more scientific grounding, we need to select a random group of "faith-based" grassroots nonprofits and a group of secular grassroots nonprofits. Then we need to undertake a long-term process and impact evaluation of the two groups.
What exactly is "morality?" It usually is raised as a private sector issue. For example, grassroots nonprofit groups, we are told, should be driven by a moral imperative. And, if we as parents better teach right from wrong, we also are told, there will be much less need for youth development initiatives by grassroots community groups.
Of course parents and nonprofits should teach right from wrong. But what about public morality? When it comes to public policy that doesn't work:
- I suggest to you that it is immoral for almost a quarter of America's youngest children to live in poverty.
- I suggest to you that it is immoral to take from the poor and give it to the rich, as does supply-side economics, and for the federal government to do nothing about the growing inequality gap.
- I suggest to you that it is immoral for CEOs to earn 419 times as much as their workers.
- I suggest to you that it is immoral for the states to spend more on prison building than on higher education.
- I suggest to you that it is immoral for white corporations to profit from incarcerating minorities sentenced with racially-biased drug laws.
- I suggest to you that it is immoral for the rate of incarceration of African-American men in America today to be 4 times higher than the rate of incarceration of black men in pre-Mandela, apartheid South Africa.
- And I suggest to you that, through lack of campaign finance reform, it is immoral for America to create a one-dollar one-vote democracy, rather than a one-person, one-vote democracy.
We cannot give up the moral high ground.
So much for examples of what doesn't work, for the political sugar coating that often encases them, and for their not uncommon lack of morality. It is more hopeful to talk about what works. I want to give just a few interrelated examples. They cover preschool, safe havens after school, public school reform, training first jobs programs, community development, community banking and community policing.
One of the best examples of what works is preschool. A state-by-state study by the Rand Corporation demonstrated that access to preschool increases student achievement, especially in impoverished communities. Earlier, the conservative CEOs on the Committee for Economic Development in New York asserted that, for every dollar invested in preschool, America gets almost $5.00 of benefits in return over the lifetime of a child who receives preschool. Those benefits include less involvement in crime, less involvement in drugs, less involvement in teen pregnancy, more likelihood to complete school, and more likelihood to become economically independent. Preschool makes economic sense. Yet less than half of all eligible poor children are enrolled in Head Start because, of course, we are told we don't have the money for our children, especially the almost 1 in 4 of the youngest who are living in poverty. At the same time, in many European countries, like France and Sweden, preschool is considered a basic human right.23
Naysayers like to argue that, after a child leaves Head Start in America, benefits decline. Of course. If you only partially fund Head Start, decrease the amount of money available to Head Start programs for management and training (as has been the case in recent years) and throw a child back onto the mean streets at age 5 or 6 without any corresponding interventions, what do you expect?
Most experts who work with children and youth have learned that we need a continuum of interventions from early childhood through adulthood. (See, for example, the views of Yale Professor Edward Zigler, considered the father of Head Start, in National Policy Based on What Works.)
Safe Havens After School
That is one reason why, for children slightly older than preschoolers as well as for preteens, safe havens after school have worked, based, for example, on evaluations by Columbia University and the Eisenhower Foundation.24 Evolving from the formative Carnegie Corporation report, A Matter of Time, in 1992, safe havens have become known as places where kids can go after school for help with their homework, snacks, social support and discipline from adult role models.25 During the week, youth get into the most trouble from 3:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. in America. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out why social support and discipline by paid adult staff during these hours will have a positive impact.
Public School Reform
But this is after school. There are many good examples of public school reforms that work during school hours. One is the School Development Plan of Professor James Comer at Yale University. Parents, teachers and principals take over the management of inner-city schools, and additional investments in youth, like counseling and mental health services, are available. Evaluations have been positive, for example, in terms of less crime, less drugs, and higher grades in Comer Schools than in comparison schools. Professor Comer has widely replicated his plan, also with evaluated success.26 Similarly, "full service community schools," as articulated by Joy Dryfoos in her book Safe Passage, have begun to demonstrate their worth. A good model is Intermediate School 218 in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City. Such schools integrate the delivery of quality education with whatever health and social services are judged necessary by a specific community.27 For high schoolers, a good example of success is the Ford Foundation's Quantum Opportunities program. Well-trained adult mentors work one-on-one with inner-city high school youth, keeping them on track to good grades and high school completion, working out ways to earn money in the summer and providing venues for college education, if youth so choose. The original Brandeis University evaluation showed that Quantum Opportunity students did much better than controls, for example, in terms of less crime, less drugs, less teen pregnancy, better grades, more likelihood to complete high school and more likelihood to go on to college.28
These are all examples of public school reform. Advocates of private vouchers like to say that the issue is choice. That is not so. There are plenty of scientifically proven inner-city public school successes for a school system to choose from, like safe havens, the Comer School Development Plan, full service community schools and Quantum Opportunities. The real issue is accountability. Private schools funded through vouchers are not accountable to the taxpayers whose public sector money finances them.
For example, in Milwaukee, an African-American student who criticized her voucher school as racist was expelled. She sued on the grounds of free speech, but lost. The federal judge who wrote the opinion concluded that "restrictions on constitutional rights that would be protected at a public high school ... need not be honored at a private school."29 As this illustration shows, voucher plans can reinforce inequality.
The inequality issue in education is, of course, also greatly linked to money, and expenditure per pupil. The rich, who tend to support vouchers, often say the issue is not money. But what do the rich do? They send their kids to Andover or Exeter -- spending $20,000 a year on them. If it is good enough for the rich, why isn't it good enough for the poor, the working class and the middle class? What we need is public financing of education that allows the annual level of investment per child in American inner cities to be the same as the annual level of investment per child in the suburbs.30
Training First Job Programs31
When young people do drop out of high school, we know that there are alternatives to the old and failed Job Training and Partnership Act that can get them back on track. Often, these are "training first" initiatives.
One good example is the Argus Learning for Living Center in the South Bronx. Argus begins with "tough love" for inner-city dropouts, many of whom have drug problems. The priority is on changing attitudes, and then behavior. Considerable initial emphasis is on life skills trainings like how to manage money and how to resolve conflicts. Education and remedial education follow. When participants are ready, they move on to job training, focused on jobs for which there is a demand, like jobs in drug counseling. In the case of one replication of Argus by the Eisenhower Foundation, training is for good jobs repairing telecommunications equipment. After the training and job placement, there is follow-up to ensure retention. Retention is a crucial phase because there often are adjustments that need to be made once a person is in the workforce. Child care and transportation, for example, need to be in place. Sometimes help is needed with how to get along with fellow employees and with supervisors. Eisenhower Foundation evaluations of Argus and replications of Argus have demonstrated improved earnings, less crime and less drugs for enrollees versus comparison group members.
Another training first success is Job Corps, the intensive public sector training that takes seriously the need to provide a supportive, structured environment for the youth and welfare recipients it seeks to assist. Job Corps features classroom courses, which can lead to high school equivalency degrees, counseling, and hands-on job training. As in individual community-based, nonprofit programs like Argus, Job Corps carefully links education, training, placement and support services. Job Corps centers are located in rural and urban settings around the country. Some of the urban settings are campus-like. Others essentially are "street-based." In the original design, a residential setting provided sanctuary away from one's home. Today, nonresidential variations are being tried. Job Corps participants usually are about 16 to 22 years old, and often at risk of drug abuse, delinquency, and welfare dependency. The average family income of Job Corps participants is less than $8,000 per year, 2 of 5 come from families on public assistance and more than 4 of 5 are high school dropouts. The typical participant is an 18-year-old minority high school dropout who reads at a seventh-grade level.
In the 1990s, an evaluation by the Congressional Budget Office calculated that for each $10,000 invested in the average participant in the mid-1980s, society received approximately $15,000 in returns, including approximately $8,000 in "increased output of participants," and $6,000 in "reductions in the cost of crime-related activities." In 2000, an evaluation of almost 10,000 Job Corps participants and 6,000 controls by Mathematica Policy Research found that Job Corps participants were 20% less likely to be arrested, charged or convicted of a crime. If convicted, they served less jail time than control group counterparts, recieved more post participation non-Job Corps academic instruction and vocational training than control group members, received less in federal benefits than control group members, and were less likely to describe their health as "poor" or "fair."
Without a training first strategy based on the principles of successes like Argus and Job Corps, it is difficult to believe that America's present "work first" "welfare reform" will succeed for those who are the hardest to employ, including persons with drug problems. Nor has the new, disappointing Workforce Development Act understood the importance of training first.
Community Development and Community Banking
Many of the jobs for such training first preparation can be generated by community development corporations in the private, nonprofit sector. Community development corporations were the brainchild of Robert Kennedy's Mobilization for Youth in the late 1960s. Initially, there were 10 such community development corporations -- and now there are over 2,000. A favorite of mine is the New Community Corporation in the Central Ward of Newark, founded in the ashes of the 1960s riot there by Monsignor William Linder, who has received a MacArthur Foundation genius award. The New Community Corporation has generated thousands of economic development and associated services jobs in the Central Ward of Newark. One of its affiliates also owns the only Pathmark Supermarket in the Central Ward. Income streams from this for-profit operation help with the nonprofit operations.32
The capital for community development corporations often can be secured via community-based banking. Here the model is the South Shore Bank in Chicago. Many banks do not bother with branches in the inner city. When they do, typically a bank will use the savings of inner-city residents to make investments outside of the neighborhood. South Shore does just the opposite. It uses the savings of the poor to reinvest in the inner-city neighborhoods where the poor live. And South Shore still makes a profit.33
Community Equity Policing
My last example of what works is community-based, problem-oriented policing. This essentially means getting officers out of their cruisers and into foot patrols. They work shoulder-to-shoulder with citizen groups to focus on specific problems and solve them with sensitive efficiency.
I am not talking about "zero tolerance" policing, as practiced, for example, in New York City. Such policing, has, of course, created a tremendous amount of racial and community tension.34
Opposite to "zero-tolerance" policing is the community-sensitive strategy of the Boston Police, as well as the community equity policing of the Eisenhower Foundation. Since 1988, the Foundation has replicated neighborhood police ministations that are housed in the same space as youth safe havens. (Neighborhood ministations were pioneered by the police in Japan, and after-school safe havens have been popularized in America by the Carnegie Corporation.) Grants are made to nonprofit grassroots youth development organizations, and police chiefs co-target 2 or 3 officers as local match. The officers are trained as mentors for youth. Officers on foot patrols are accompanied by citizens. The result has been drops in crime at least as great as with zero tolerance, along with improved racial and community relations.35
Look at how these few examples of what works interrelate, or can be made to interrelate through a wise national policy for the inner city and the truly disadvantaged. Problem-oriented, community equity policing can help secure a neighborhood. The security can help encourage community-based banking. Community-based banking can provide capital for community development corporations. Community development corporations can invest that capital in ways that generate good jobs for local residents. Inner-city youth can qualify for those jobs if they have been in job training, like that at Argus and Job Corps. Similarly, inner-city youth can stay in high school if they have been involved in human capital investments like the Ford Foundation's Quantum Opportunities mentoring program. They can get that far if they have been in Comer schools, full services community schools and after-school safe havens. And they can get that far if they have been in preschool. So what you see, when you ask what works based on scientific studies and careful evaluations, is what Lisbeth Schorr, at the Harvard University School of Public Health, calls "multiple solutions to multiple problems."36
The solutions then, are not single, narrow and categorical. The solutions are creative, comprehensive and interdependent.
Such comprehensive interdependence is at the core of the national policy proposed in the Eisenhower Foundation's 30 year update of the Kerner Commission, composed of two publications -- The Millennium Breach and Locked in the Poorhouse -- and in the Foundation's 30-year update of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence, To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility. Our policy concentrates on school and job reform, because that is what evaluations suggest is most important. Public opinion polls support school and job reform. (See the final section on common ground for political alliance.)
So framed, our policy means expanding Head Start preschool to all qualified inner-city young people. It means replicating to scale proven public education reforms like safe havens, Comer schools, full service (public) community schools and Quantum Opportunities. It means a new training first program for the hardest to employ, including out-of-school youth and persons on welfare.
To generate jobs, we need a commitment by the federal government to full employment for the inner city. As many of those jobs as possible should be generated by the private sector -- especially through a new national community-based banking program modeled after the South Shore Bank. But many of those jobs need to be created by the public sector. A good many public jobs should be in the repair of decaying urban infrastructure -- a result of the public disinvestment of the 1980s. America is far behind other industrialized democracies in investments in its public infrastructure. The new jobs also should be in constructing and repairing housing for the poor. Here, an excellent model is YouthBuild USA, where founder Dorothy Stoneman, another MacArthur genius award winner, trains high school dropouts to rehabilitate housing.38 We also need public service jobs, many of which can be used to reform "welfare reform." There are hundreds of thousands of jobs needed for child care workers, assistance to teachers in inner-city schools, staff for nonprofit grassroots community-based organizations and drivers to get people to work.
Racial and Criminal Justice Reform
To complement this school and job reform, we need racial and criminal justice reform. Here, one model is The Shape of the River, by the former presidents of Harvard and Princeton. The book provides some of the most comprehensive, cohort-based evidence on the cost-effectiveness of affirmative action.39 Neither of the major candidates in the 2000 presidential election did particularly well in prep school. Yet both were admitted to elite Ivy League universities. Affirmative action is an accepted policy among the well-off. To eliminate the present double standard, affirmative action needs to be strengthened for the not-so-well-off.
We also need a new presidential commission to propose how to eliminate the racial biases in our juvenile and criminal justice systems, especially when it comes to drugs and mandatory minimum sentences. We need to acknowledge our defeat in the war on drugs in America. America spends 30% of its anti-drug resources on treatment and prevention and 70% on law enforcement. In many European countries, the percentages are just the opposite -- 70% on prevention and treatment and 30% on law enforcement. We need a better balance. One model is the State of Arizona. Arizona held a referendum on the high cost of prison building. Voters decided to begin to divert non-violent offenders from the prison system into community treatment alternatives. An evaluation commissioned by the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona found recidivism rates for people so diverted to be lower and concluded that a considerable amount of money had been saved for the taxpayers of Arizona. If Arizona can begin to move in this direction, then less conservative states, like California, can do the same. Crucially, given that 400,000 to 500,000 persons are coming out of prison each year between 2001 and 2005 and given that there are few plans for educational and job preparation, we need to replicate on a much broader scale the Delancey Street enterprise, begun in San Francisco over 30 years ago. Delancey Street is the premier American initiative for successfully reintegrating ex-offenders and dramatically reducing their recidivism.40
Less Affirmative Action for the Rich
That is the kind of comprehensive and interdependent policy -- focused on education, employment, race and criminal justice -- that we propose. The cost of replicating what works to scale, we estimate, is in the order of $50 to $60 billion dollars per year.41
The Eisenhower Foundation believes that as much of this cost as possible should be borne by the private sector -- especially when it comes to jobs and training. But we are not holding our breath. Given the failures of the private sector in supply-side economics, the Job Training Partnership Act and Enterprise Zones; given the huge salaries of corporate CEOs (over 400 times their workers); and given the enormous amount of corporate welfare high paid lobbyists have secured (see below), we believe that it is inevitable that the public sector must take the lead, at the local, state and national levels.
For its part, the federal government should raise funds, but then re-target them, not to the states, which have not been particularly successful when it comes to the inner city and the truly disadvantaged, but to the grassroots local level, and especially to private, nonprofit inner-city organizations, which are responsible for so much of what works, based on scientific evaluations.
How do we propose to finance such reform? Not through new taxes, though, as I have suggested, there is plenty of public opinion to suggest that Americans are willing to pay more taxes for school and job reform that works.
Rather, at the federal level, we need to use a small fraction of the budget surplus, now projected at $4.2 trillion over the next 10 years. We also propose minor percentage changes in some budget line items. This can easily generate the $50 to $60 billion needed to begin replicating what works to scale.
Our first priority is on reducing affirmative action for the rich and corporate welfare. With an eye to the British East India Company, our founding fathers warned, in Thomas Jefferson's words, against the antidemocratic "aristrocracy of our moneyed corporations." But today that aristocracy is alive and very well, indeed. The taxpayers of America spend somewhere between $100 and $200 billion per year on tax breaks and subsidies to the rich and to corporations. For example, in the 1980s, tens of billions of dollars of tax breaks were given out to the rich and to corporations, by way of liberalized depreciation and capital gains allowances. At the same time, we spend tens upon tens of billions of dollars per year on subsidies to corporations. These are federal grants. We subsidize the nuclear power industry, the aviation industry, the media, big oil and gas, the mining industry and the timber industry. America subsidizes agribusiness to the tune of over $18 billion per year. We subsidize tobacco companies to give cancer to our children. I suggest to you that is neither cost-effective nor moral.42
We also need to finance the replication of what works to scale though reductions in what doesn't work (like prison building and boot camps).
At this point, just take a step back and ask yourself this question. If we really do know a great deal about what doesn't work, if we know a great deal about what does work, if we have learned a lot about how to replicate what works, if public opinion is in favor of much education and jobs reform, and if, at a time of unprecedented prosperity, we have the means to finance what works to scale, what is the problem?
In part, the problem has been not so much the boys in the Hood as the boys on the Hill. The problem has been one of political will and political inaction. For example, in recent years, many in Congress pressed for more funding of what doesn't work (like tax breaks for the rich and prison building for the poor) and less funding for what does work (like preschool and safe havens). In the 1990s, Congress often had it backwards. For its part, the Administration in the 1990s had a good understanding of what doesn't and does work, and should be praised for its economic policy. But, especially after the failure of healthcare reform, the Administration was not sufficiently willing to stand up on the bully pulpit and advocate for a policy that replicates what works on a scale equal to the dimensions of the problem.
Given this lack of political will and action in America, what can citizens and nonprofit organizations do to generate reform based on what works? In his book, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates,43 Jim Hightower calls for grassroots citizen leadership. Consistent with this thinking, I would like to suggest 2 obvious grassroots venues: campaign finance reform and communicating what works.
We need to follow the State of Maine's example of public financing of campaigns, even if there remain major legal and constitutional obstacles. We need to follow the model of England, with very short campaigns and with public financing of equal amounts of television time for all of the major candidates. We must eliminate the corrupting influence of big money in America that has created our one-dollar, one-vote democracy. We must control the influence of lobbyists earning 6-figure incomes. We must aim to level the political playing field. If we can, eventually, be successful, then perhaps Congress no longer will be dominated by millionaires, as it is today. Perhaps -- just perhaps -- Congress will have more community activists, teachers, community development corporation directors, community-based bankers, youth development advocates, practitioners of prevention and treatment, public education reformers, persons who seek elimination of racial biases in our sentencing system, and individuals who fight to reduce the prison-industrial complex.44
To make progress in such campaign finance reform, we need to better inform the public that we know what works and how to replicate it to scale. We need a communicating what-works movement. Here, the point of departure is how, in the late 1960s, a careful, systematic and well-financed strategic communications plan began to be developed by those who believe in, for example, tax breaks for the rich, prison building for the poor and disinvestment from the inner city. To illustrate, in the 1990s, the richest foundations with that view in America made over $1 billion in communications, media and related grants to think tanks with that view. The largest such think tank in America is the Heritage Foundation. Heritage has used its money to help develop a staff of over 60 analysts, who, among other tasks, write position papers on themes like tax breaks for the rich, prison building for the poor and public disinvestment from urban areas. The papers often are criticized for their lack of scientific accuracy, but they are well-marketed. They are marketed immediately to every member of Congress and every Congressional principal staff member. They are marketed to newspaper editorial page editors, op ed editors and columnists across the country. They are networked to talk radio, led by Rush Lumbaugh, Oliver North and Gordon Liddy. They are networked to talk television, led by Jerry Falwell. The Heritage Foundation also has a television studio on its premises. There, its associates can practice their 7-second sound bites.45
If It Bleeds, It Leads. Television is very important in all of this. The media in America is controlled by just a few giant multi-national corporations, like Time-Warner, Viacom, Disney and Ruppert Murdock's News Organization. Now, most Americans no longer get their news from newspapers. Most Americans do not get their news from national broadcast television news, from Peter Jennings on ABC, Dan Rather on CBS or Tom Brokaw on NBC. More typically, the average American gets her or his news from local television, from the local news at 5:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. or 10:00 p.m. or 11:00 p.m. Local television managers are not under pressure to produce Edward R. Murrow-type quality on such news programs. But they are under pressure to produce profits, as was John Cleese in the motion picture Fierce Creatures, when he was pushed hard by a Ruppert Murdock-type parody tycoon. Local television managers know that the local news produces the most revenues. So they have to devise a strategy to keep Nielson ratings high and keep viewers tuned to the commercials on their stations, rather than to the commercials on Channel 7 or 9.46 Under this pressure, what is the strategy typically adopted by a local television manager in America? What is the philosophy?
Too often, the philosophy tends to be, "If it bleeds, it leads." That is, too often local station executives will lead with negative and sensational news, the day's shootings, assaults, muggings and rapes. Too often, the local television manager will lead with stories that demonize minority youth and welfare mothers. In a 30-minute format, perhaps the first 4 or 5 minutes leads with such negative, sensational news, designed to keep the viewer glued. Then there are commercials, the first positive messages on the newscast. Then there are a few minutes of national and international news. Then the weather lady appears in her well-tailored blue suit. Then there are commercials. Then the plaid sports jock comes on and talks about the latest football or baseball scores. Then there are commercials. At the end, but only if there is time, there are perhaps 30 seconds of "happy news," like announcements of the latest folk festival on the lakefront. There is rarely any time for in-depth stories on what works. They are considered too boring for good ratings.47
The Mean World Syndrome. There are local exceptions to "bleeds-leads" programming, of course. But what is the reaction of the average American viewer to what predominates as this steady diet of negative, and sensational local news? Too often, says Professor George Gerbner, Dean Emeritus of the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Pennsylvania, the result is the "mean world" syndrome.48 Too often, the average, tax-paying citizen living out in the suburbs concludes that the world is pretty gloomy. And that, therefore, there are few answers in terms of policy -- except, of course, negative solutions, like prison building (which enhances the white prison-industrial complex and so helps make the rich richer and the poor poorer). That is one reason why, after the South Central Los Angeles riots in 1992, a majority in the New York Times/CBS poll (above) said the major obstacle to doing more was "lack of knowledge."
Foundation Funding. What can we do to reverse the "mean world" syndrome, and to create a communicating what works movement? We must encourage foundations that embrace what works to better support media and communications funding to grassroots and national organizations, as part of advocacy and capacity building. Many foundations that otherwise support what works have been reluctant to fund communications and media in the past, and the result is that they have been tremendously outspent by foundations with a mean world view.
More Media Savvy by National Non-profits. While seeking to promote more investments by such foundations, national nonprofit organizations which resonate to the what works message need to enhance their own capacity to communicate. National nonprofits must secure funds for top-quality communications directors, directors for distribution of reports and directors of research to provide the facts. The reports need to be much more scientifically based than those of the Heritage Foundation, but equally well marketed. They need to be well packaged for the Internet and for hard copy distribution.
Sophisticated media strategies are essential. Reports need to be widely communicated through more sophisticated uses of the media. For example, in the Eisenhower Foundation's updates of the Kerner Riot Commission, we first released a media version that was embargoed until March 1, 1998 -- the exact date, 30 years after the original Kerner Commission report release on March 1, 1968. Why did we do this? Because the media love anniversaries. We achieved saturation media coverage -- for example, on ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC, BET, BBC, NPR -- in Newsweek, and in almost every major newspaper in the country.49 I also appeared on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, pitted against 2 naysayers. I reminded one of them that I helped launch his think tank years ago by providing him with a start-up grant when I was an appointee with the Carter Administration. I had exposed him on national television for taking federal grants. I suggested that my grant for the fledgling think thank was the kind of investment in human capital that we needed in America's inner cities. The naysayer took time to defend himself. That gave him less time to attack me. That gave me more time to frame my next statements. It also proved easy to dismiss naysayers in print media. (See: What the Media Says About Us.)50
The techniques I used on The News Hour are taught in strategic communications school, which many naysayers have gone through but which most grassroots nonprofit community organizations have not. All national nonprofit organizations that accept a what works policy need to involve their staff in media training. More important, we need to extend such training to the executive directors, other staff and youth associated with grassroots, nonprofit community organizations which are responsible for so much of what works.
More Media Savvy by Grassroots Nonprofits. That is why the Eisenhower Foundation has begun a strategic communications school for local non-profits. We have a long way to go in funding the school and in extending outreach to nonprofits. But we do try to take in about 5 to 10 nonprofit grassroots representatives at any one time. We begin with strategic communications planning. We then have a television camera set up, manned by a wise, award-winning African-American cameraman off duty from NBC. Each participant must first sit in front of the camera and, in a minute or two, present the mission of his or her organization. Then each must undertake a friendly interview with a reporter. Then each must undertake a hostile interview, and finally undergo a press conference in which our trainers are noxious and create chaos. Each round of such training is videotaped, replayed and critiqued in front of all the other participants. It is hard and stressful work. But, not surprisingly, nonprofit organization personnel respond well and learn quickly. Few have thought of communications as part of their mission. We need to expand such training greatly and greatly expand follow-up, for example, by hiring local communications directors associated with clusters of nonprofit organizations in specific cities. We need to encourage nonprofit organizations to innovate communications strategies, including the possibility of putting pressure on local television stations which do not incorporate segments on what works.
Bill Moyers, Tom Paine and the Internet. But we cannot get trapped by simply teaching nonprofit organizations to articulate sound bites better on conventional media, which always will make us play by corporate rules. We must proceed well beyond. What alternatives can we generate? Can we, for example, use the new America Online nonprofit portal and local nonprofit portals to organize grassroots organizations around what-works themes? Can we build on the remarks of Bill Moyers, when he left CBS and said that America needs to return to the pamphleteering of Tom Paine? Such low-tech forms of communication can easily be embraced by grassroots nonprofit community organizations, especially if we can create a resurgence of the kind of community organizing we had in the late 1960s. Can we create high-tech pamphleteering in the inner city through thousands of new Internet-based community networks that support and motivate advocacy via town hall meetings involving advocates, citizens and decision makers?51
Youth Media Enterprise. Another good alternative venue to build on is the youth media enterprise of the Dorchester Collaborative in Boston. The Dorchester Youth Collaborative is a safe haven after school program in a tough African-American, Latino, Cambodian and Vietnamese neighborhood. Many youth who hang out at the Dorchester Youth Collaborative have a great amount of anger. Few have skills in resolving conflicts. As an intervention, the Dorchester Youth Collaborative began acting clubs. Young people wrote, directed and acted in skits which portrayed their feelings and social concerns. They performed brilliantly. Soon, word got out, and so they began performing at junior high schools and high schools in Boston. Then they got onto local radio and television talk shows, local cable and local public service announcements. Some of the youth registered as actors with the actor's union. The Disney Corporation acknowledged the presentations through an award in Orlando. Blockbuster Video provided public service videos free of charge, prepared by the Dorchester Youth Collaborative. Hollywood got into the act, by financing a full-length motion picture with a cause, titled, Squeeze, which had a limited distribution in major cities. In all of this, note what the Dorchester Youth Collaborative has done. It has created acting as a youth development intervention in the safe haven. But it also has initiated a process in which those who typically are demonized in American society become the message senders.52 Where can we go with that profound breakthrough?
Ultimately, a communicating what-works movement must convince the American public that there are solutions that work. The movement must encourage private sector replication of such solutions. More important, the movement must encourage average citizens to elect public officeholders who will carry out what works and who will appoint judges who understand what works.
We need to advocate for a new voting majority, a new political alliance. The alliance must bring together middle-income Americans (who often need 2 or 3 jobs in the family to make ends meet), wage earners (who must be made more aware that their CEOs earn on the average 419 times as much as they do), and the poor (who suffered in the 1980s and hardly improved in the 1990s).
What are the common grounds for such a new political alliance? I believe we should build on public resentment to private greed. Middle- and working-income Americans appear to be resentful of CEOs with excessive salaries and stock options, according to surveys by Alan Wolfe at Boston College. Such rewards are perceived by many middle- and working-income people as disconnected from the efforts that go into securing them. Like "welfare queens," the idle rich and "welfare kings" are perceived by many as not earning their money. This, suggests Wolfe, makes the idle rich politically vulnerable, given the enormous income, wage and wealth gaps that opened in the 1980s and widened in the 1990s.53 Middle-income and wage-earner families, including those with both parents working, may well respond to messages like "reduce affirmative action for the rich" and "get corporations off welfare."
Resentment of greed is not the only common ground that middle- and working-income people share with the poor. They all share, as well, a vulnerability to the technological global marketplace. As Jeff Faux has observed, middle-income people, wage earners and the poor all need education and re-education, job training and re-training, to compete.54 Can we secure a voting majority around government-facilitated education and training? The answer is yes, based on national scientific surveys of voters by Albert H. Cantril and Susan Davis Cantril. The Cantril surveys show voter disagreement philosophically on the role of government in the abstract. But the Cantril surveys also identify voting majorities in terms of voter support for specific, pragmatic government investments. Such investments include increased spending on Head Start, teacher subsidies, college student aid and job training.55 The Cantril findings fit perfectly into a frame of program-selective public policy based on more of what works and less of what doesn't.
The challenge in America, then, is to begin to build new political alliances around widespread support of education and training as well as not uncommon resentment of the idle rich.
The challenge, above all, is to remember the dreams of our children -- and never to forget how often the dreams of the children of the inner city have been deferred:
To a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
Like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore?
and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over
Like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
Like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
1. See Fred R. Harris and Alan Curtis, Locked
in the Poorhouse (Lanham, New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield,
2. National Center for Children in Poverty. Columbia University. Young Children in Poverty, March, 1998 and October, 2006.
3. Jeff Faux, "Lifting All Boats," chapter prepared for To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility: A Thirty Year Update of the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence (Washington, DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1999); Peter Edelman, "Who Is Worrying About the Children?" The Washington Post, August 11, 1999, p. A18. National Center for Children in Poverty. Columbia University. Young Children in Poverty, October, 2006.
4. Center for Community Change, Newsletter (Issue 19, Fall 1997); Federal Register, Volume 64, Number 105, Wednesday June 2, 1999, p. 29672; Alan Okagaki, Developing a Public Policy Agenda on Jobs (Washington, D.C.: Center for Community Change, 1997). Jerry Jones, Federal Revenue Policies That Work: A Blueprint for Job Creation to Support Welfare Reform (Washington, DC: Center for Community Change, 1997). William Julius Wilson, When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor (New York: Knopf, 1996). Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein and John Schmitt, The State of WorkingAmerica (Ithica: Cornell University Press, 2000). Lawrence Mishel, Jared Bernstein and Sylvia Allegretto, The State of WorkingAmerica: 2006/2007 (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2006).
5. Kevin Phillips, The Politics and Rich and Poor (New York: Random House, 1990). Jason DeParle, "Richer Rich, Poorer Poor, and a Fatter Green Book," The New York Times, May 26, 1991; Alan Curtis, Family, Employment and Reconstruction (Milwaukee: Family Service America, 1995); U.S. Census, Historical Poverty Tables (Washington, DC: US Census, 1997); Children's Defense Fund, The State of America's Children (Washington, DC: Children's Defense Fund, 1994); Felicity Baringer, "Rich-Poor Gulf Widens among Blacks, The New York Times, Sept. 25, 1992.
6. Doug Henwood, "The Nation Indicators," Nation, March 29, 1999, p. 10. Alan Wolfe, "The New Politics of Inequality," The New York Times, September 22, 1999, p. A27; Kenneth Bredemeier, "Widening Gap Found Between Area's Rich, Poor" The Washington Post, November 29, 2000, p. E1. Economic Snapshot, January 26, 2006, (Washington, DC:Economic Policy Institute).
7. Keith Bradsher, "Gap in Wealth in US Called Widest in West," The New York Times, April 17, 1995; Edward N. Wolff, Top Heavy (New York: The New Press, 1995); Editorial "The Tide Is Not Lifting Everyone," The New York Times, September 30, 1997; and Glenn C. Loury, "Unequalized," New Republic, April 6, 1998.
8. Alan Wolfe, "The New Politics of Inequality," The New York Times, September 27, 1999, p. A27. Wal-Mart's Pay Gap (Washington, DC: Institute for Policy Studies, 2005).
9. Gary Orfield, "Segregated Housing and School Desegregation," in Gary Orfield, Susan E. Eaton and the Harvard Project on School Desegregation, Dismantling Desegregation: The Quiet Reversal of Brown vs. Board of Education (New York: New Press, 1996). Robert Taggert, Personal Communication, (Alexandria, VA: Remediation and Training Institute).
10. Robert Suro, "More Is Spent on New
Prisons Than Colleges," The Washington Post,
February 24, 1997; and Beatrix Hamburg, "President's Report," Annual
Report, 1996 (New York: William T. Grant Foundation, 1997).
11. John Atlas and Peter Drier, A National Housing Agenda for the 1990s, (Washington, DC: National Housing Institute, 1992); Lynn A. Curtis, Family, Employment and Reconstruction; and Sentencing Project, Crime Rates and Incarceration: Are We Any Safer? (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, l992). Facts About Prisons and Prisoners (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 2006).
12. Mark Mauer, Young Black Men and the Criminal Justice System (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 1990); Mark Mauer, Intended and Unintended Consequences: State Racial Disparities in Imprisonment (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 1997); and Vivien Stern, The Future of A Sin (Boston; Northeastern University Press, 1998).
13. Milton Friedman, "There's No Justice in the War on Drugs," The New York Times, January 11, 1998. Facts About Prisons and Prisoners (Washington, DC: Sentencing Project, 2006).
14. Elliott Currie, Crime and Punishment in America (New York: Metropolitan Books, 1998); and Editorial, "Crack Sentences Revisited," The Washington Post, May 5, 1997; Fox Butterfield, "Racial Disparities Seen As Pervasive in Juvenile Justice," The New York Times, April 26, 2000.
15. James Brooke, "Prisons: Growth Industry for Some," The New York Times, November 2, 1997. Also see Steven R. Donziger, The Real War on Crime: Report of the National Criminal Justice Commission (New York: Harper Collins, 1996).
16. Jeffrey A. Roth, "Understanding and Preventing Violence," in Research in Brief (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, 1994); and Richard A. Mendel, Prevention or Pork? A Hard Look at Youth-Oriented Anti-Crime Programs (Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum, 1995). The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility (Washington DC, The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1999).
17. Peter Applebone, "From Riots of the ?0s, A Report for a Nation with Will and Way for Healing," The New York Times, May 8, 1992; Robin Toner, "Los Angeles Riots Are a Warning, Americans Fear," The New York Times, June 14, 1992; Fox Butterfield "Racial Disparties Seen As Pervasive in Juvenile Justice," The New York Times, April 26, 2000.
18. What do I mean by "scientific evaluation"? The National Research Council has concluded that the vast majority of programs for the truly disadvantaged and the inner city are not evaluated, or receive superficial evaluations that do not allow conclusions to be drawn on whether the program actually worked. By contrast, the Eisenhower Foundation's standards for scientific evaluation are as follows:
- Scientific Research Design: The program was evaluated using a "quasi-experimental" design with comparison groups or an even more rigorous design with random assignment of subjects to program and control groups. Pre-post (before and after) outcome measures were undertaken.
- Targets Populations Most At-Risk: All or most of the persons receiving the interventions were truly disadvantaged in urban areas and were "at-risk" in terms of a combination of factors, including income, dependency, education, employment, earnings, teen pregnancy, delinquency, crime and substance abuse.
- A Focus on Core Problems: The program addressed at least one of the problems or issues facing truly disadvantaged populations, like poverty, inadequate education, unemployment, crime, drugs, teen pregnancy, dependency and substandard housing.
- Specific, Measurable Outcomes: The outcome findings were not equivocal, but clear cut, with all or most of the key outcome variables showing improvements for the treatment groups that were statistically significant vis-a-vis control or comparison groups.
- Implementation, Modification, Replication: The program was not an isolated, narrow academic experiment, but it started with, or built up to, broader scale implementation, possibly at multiple sites which later may have been replicated still further. The evaluation included considerable practical information on the day-to-day management of implementation and on how organizational and staff issues impacted on final outcomes.
- Specification of Program Elements: The program intervention was articulated in sufficient detail. The demographic, social and risk characteristics of the population served by the program were specified.
These standards for scientific evaluation are comparable to recent reviews
of programs in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and
by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. However,
the Eisenhower Foundation gives more emphasis than such reviews to initiatives,
beyond academic research, that have adequate technical designs but that
also have been operating for some time in the rough-and-tumble of real-world
street life, funding pressure, staff burnout, inadequate salaries and political
machinations at the local and federal levels. Academic experiments are
limited, in our experience, unless the ideas can be carried out and replicated
on the streets.
The Foundation therefore has searched for common-sense programs that foundations, legislators and public sector executives can fund and replicate.
I can illustrate these standards by comparing them to the standards used by others. For example, an excellent review by the American Psychological Association has a number of programs that are academic experiments. But the Eisenhower Foundation has concluded that there is insufficient replication of these experiments and insufficient information on how day-to-day management impacted on outcomes. Similarly, some of the programs recognized in the PEPNET of the National Youth Employment Coalition do not show enough evidence of success, based on our standards of scientific evaluation. (See the website of the National Youth Employment Coalition at www.nyec.org.) Given the need to convince the American public that we do have solid evidence of what works, and that we should replicate such success to scale, programs with insufficient evaluation designs or equivocal findings are not included by the Eisenhower Foundation as examples of models.
For the studies cited in the foregoing, see:
American Youth Policy Forum. Some Things Do Make A Difference for Youth. Washington, DC: American Youth Policy Forum, 1997.
Howell, James C., Editor. Guide for Implementing the Comprehensive Strategy for Serious, Violent and Chronic Juvenile Offenders. Washington, DC: US Government Printing Office, June, 1995.
National Research Council. Losing Generations: Adolescents in High-Risk Settings. Panel on the High Risk Youth, Committee on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1993.
Powell, Kenneth and Darnell F. Hawkins, Editors. "Youth Violence Prevention: Descriptions and Baseline Data from 13 Evaluation Projects." American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Supplement to Volume 12, Number 5, September/October 1996.
Price, Richard H., Emory L. Cowen, Raymond P. Lorion, and Julia Ramos-McKay, eds. 14 Ounces of Prevention: A Case Book for Practitioners. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 1988.
19. Urban Institute, Confronting the Nation's Urban Crisis: From Watts (1965) to South Central Los Angeles (Washington, DC; Urban Institute, 1992); William J. Cunningham, "Enterprise Zones," Testimony before the Committee on Select Revenue Measures, Committee on Ways and Means, United States House of Representatives, July 11, 1991; Tom Furlong, "Enterprise Zone in L.A. Fraught with Problems," Los Angeles Times, May 19, 1992; "Reinventing America," Business Week, January 19, 1993; "Not so EZ," Economist, January 28, 1989. "Job Training and Partnership Act: Youth Pilot Projects," Federal Register, April 13, 1994.
20. Timothy Egan, "Less Crime, More Criminals," The New York Times, March 7. 1999, p. 1; Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, To Establish Justice, To Insure Domestic Tranquility (Washington, DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1999); Alfred Blumstein and Joel Wallman, editors, The Crime Drop in America (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000); Jared Bernstein and Ellen Houston, Crime and Work: What Can we Learn From the Low Wage Labor Market (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 2000).
21. Doris L. MacKenzie and Clair Souryal, Multiple Evaluation of Shock Incarceration (Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, 1994).
22. Pam Belluck, "Urban Volunteers Strain to Reach Fragile Lives," The New York Times, April 27, 1997, p. A1; James Bennett, "At Volunteerism Rally, Leaders Paint Walls and a Picture of Need," New York Times, April 27, 1997, p. A1; Bill Alexander, "On and Off the Wagon: America's Promise At Two," Youth Today, July/August, 1999; Sara Mosle, "The Vanity of Volunteerism," New York Times Magazine, July 2, 2000, p. 22.
23. Lisbeth B. Schorr, "Helping Kids When It Counts," The Washington Post, April 30, 1997; Committee for Economic Development, Children in Need; Investment Strategies for the Educationally Disadvantaged (New York: Committee for Economic Development, 1987); Josh Wilgoreh, "National Study Examines Why Pupils Excel," The New York Times, July 26, 2000, P. A14.
24. The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, Youth Investment and Police Mentoring (Washington, DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 2000).
25. Carnegie Corporation, A Matter of Time (New York: Carnegie Corporation, 1992).
26. James P. Comer, Waiting for a Miracle (New York: Dutton, 1997).
27. Joy G. Dryfoos, Safe Passage: Making It Through Adolescence in a Risky Society (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998). Robert D. Felner et al., "The Impact of School Reform for the Middle Years," Phi Delta Kappa, March, 1997, 528-50.
28. Andrew Hahn, Quantum Opportunities Program: A Brief on the QOP Pilot Program (Waltham, Mass.: Center for Human Resources, Heller Graduate School, Brandeis University, 1995).
29. Barbara Miner, "Target: Public Education," Nation, November 30, 1998, p.4.
30. Jonathan Kozol, "Saving Public Education," Nation, Feb. 17, 1997.
31. This section is based on Alan Curtis and Fred R. Harris. The Millennium Breach.(Washington, DC: Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1998) and United States Department of Labor, National Job Corps Study: The Short Term Impact on Participants Employment and Related Outcomes (Washington DC: U.S. Department of Labor, 2000). For evaluation details on Argus, see Publications.
33. Michael Quint, "This Bank Can Turn a Profit and Follow a Social Agenda," The New York Times, May 24, 1992.
34. Janofsky, Michael, "Police Chiefs Say Criticism Is Founded, and Vow to Regain the Public Trust," The New York Times, April 10, 1999.
35. The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation. Youth Investment and Police Mentoring (Washington DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 2000).
36. Lisbeth Schorr, Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantaged (New York: Doubleday, 1988).
37. This policy is fully articulated in Fred R. Harris and Alan Curtis, editors, Locked in the Poorhouse (Lanham, New York and Oxford:1998).
38. Dorothy Stoneman, "Replicating YouthBuild," Presentation at the National US Senate Conference on Locked in the Poorhouse, Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, Washington, DC (forthcoming, 2001).
39. William G. Bowen and Derek Curtis Bok, The Shape of the River (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1998).
40. Christopher Wren, "Arizona Finds Cost Savings In Treating Drug Offenders," The New York Times, April 21, 1999, p. A16; Vince Stehle, "Vistas of Endless Possibility: Delancey Street Foundation Helps Felons and Addicts Rehabilitate Themselves into Responsible Citizens," Chronicle of Philanthropy, November 2, 1995, p. 59.
41. This total has several components, as discussed in more detail in Fred R. Harris and Alan Curtis, editors, Locked in the Poorhouse (Lanham, New York and Oxford, 1998):
- $7 billion per year is the estimated cost for expanding the existing Head Start program to all eligible poor children.
- $15 billion per year for replication of successful public inner-city school reform initiatives is based on estimates by Joy Dryfoos that roughly 15,000 schools in the United States serve disadvantaged urban youth, children and teenagers; that the average number of students per school is about 1,000; and that the average cost per student to implement reforms that work is about $1,000.
- $1 billion per year for a Corporation for Youth Investment is a conservative estimate for funding, technically assisting and evaluating safe haven-type and Quantum Opportunities-type replications for a fraction of the children, youth, and teenagers who could benefit from them.
- $4.5 billion per year for job training reform modeled after the Argus Community would allow training each year for a fraction of the 2,000,000-plus inner-city unemployed who need it.
- $1 billion per year for a National Community Development Bank is expected to generate a fraction of the 1,000,000 new private jobs that is our goal for the inner city. $5 billion per year for 250,000 public sector construction and urban repair jobs each year is based on estimates in United States Conference of Mayors, Ready to Go: New Lists of Transportation and Community Development Projects (Washington, DC: United States Conference of Mayors, 1993). $20 billion per year for 1,000,000 public service jobs is based on a minimum wage that averages to $20,000 per year, with benefits and administrative expenses. This is somewhat higher than the average assumed in Richard McGahey, Estimating the Economic Impact of a Public Jobs Program (Washington, DC: Center for Community Change, 1997).
- $50 million per year for replication of race-specific solutions is a conservative estimate of the cost of significantly expanding proven successes, like the Gatreaux program for housing integration.
- $2.4 billion per year is based primarily on estimates for expanding proven drug treatment for a fraction of those who need it, as calculated in Joseph A. Califano, Jr., "Crime and Punishments -- And Treatment, Too," Washington Post, February 8, 1998.
42. See Fred R. Harris and Alan Curtis, co-editors, Locked
in the Poorhouse (Lanham, New York and Oxford: Rowman and Littlefield,
1998); Mark Zepezauer and Arthur Naiman, Take the Rich Off Welfare (Tucson,
Arizona: Odonian Press, 1996); The New York Times editorial, "Less
Money Than Meets the Eye," July 9, 2000; and Jim Hightower, If
the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates (New
York: Harper-Collins, 2000).
43. Jim Hightower, If the Gods Had Meant Us to Vote, They Would Have Given Us Candidates (New York: Harper-Collins, 2000).
44. Jill Abramson, "Money Buys a Lot More Than Access," The New York Times, November 9, 1997; Kent Cooper, Comments for the 30 Year Eisenhower Foundation Update of the Kerner Commission (Washington, DC: Center for Responsive Politics, 1998); Ruth Marcus, "Business Donations Show Money Follows the Leaders," The Washington Post, November 25, 1997; Jamin B. Raskin, "Dollar Democracy," Nation, May 5, 1997; E. Joshua Rosenkranz, "Campaign Reform: The Hidden Killers," Nation, May 5, 1997; Fred Wertheimer, "Unless We Ban Soft Money," Washington Post, August 10, 1997.
45. Alan Curtis and Fred R. Harris. The Millennium Breach (Washington, DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1998); Tim Weiner, "A Congressman's Lament on the State of Democracy, "The New York Times, October 4, 1999; David Callahan, $1 Billion for Ideas: Conservative Think Tanks in the 1990s (Washington DC: National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, 1999); James Ridgeway, "Heritage on the Hill," Nation, December 22, 1997.
46. George Gerbner, "Reclaiming Our Cultural Mythology," In Context, (1994); 40-42.
49. For examples of how positive news stories on the Kerner update were "framed" by the print media, see Michael A. Fletcher, "Kerner Prophecy on Race Relations Came True, Report Says," Washington Post, March 1, 1998; Alizza J. Rubin, "Racial Divide Widens, Study Says," Los Angeles Times, March 1, 1998; "Kerner Commission's Separate and Unequal Societies Exist Today: Report," Jet, March 23, 1998; and Domenica Marchetti, "Charities Must Work to Build on Successes in Fight Against Poverty, Report Says," Chronicle of Philanthropy, March 12, 1998. (See: What the Media Says About Us.)
For examples of supportive opinion on the Kerner update, see Editorial, "New War on Poverty," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 8, 1998; Editorial, "Progress and Need," Christian Science Monitor, March 5, 1998; Editorial, "Kerner at 30," Minneapolis St. Paul Star Tribune, March 4, 1998; Editorial, "Racial Equity Continues to Elude Nation," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 7, 1998; Editorial, "The Kerner Report, 30 Years Later," Boston Globe, March 1, 1998; Barbara Reynolds, "Racial Divides Still Deserves Our Attention," Detroit News and Free Press, March 8, 1998; Gregory Stanford, "Still the Chasm: Racial Gap Remains Unbridged," Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, March 8, 1998; Brenda Payton, "Heed the Warnings," Oakland Tribune, March 5, 1998; Linda Wright Moore, "Deep Resolve Needed to Bridge the Race Abyss," Philadelphia Daily News, March 5, 1998; Dwight Lewis, "Nation's Strides towards Equality Have Been Great, But Far More Is Needed on the Economic Front," The Tennessean, March 1. 1998; Gracie Bonds Staples, "Still Separate But Unequal Societies -- And School Districts," Fort Worth Star Telegram, March 1, 1998; Charlie James, "Millennium Report Shows It's Time to Close Black-White Economic Gap," Seattle Post Intelligencer, March 6, 1998; Jesse Jackson, "Inequality Is Deeply Rooted," Syracuse Herald Journal, March 9, 1998; Elizabeth Bennett, "Read Any Good Reports Lately?" MishawakaEnterprise, March 5, 1998; and Editorial, "Kerner Panel Decries Racism, While Industry Seeks Workers," Waterloo Courier, March 4, 1998. (See: What the Media Says About Us.)
50. For examples of how we dismissed naysayers, see Elliott Currie, "Inequality and Violence in Our Cities," Wall Street Journal, March 23, 1998; Alan Curtis, "Kerner Update Used Scientific Evidence," Chronicle of Philanthropy, April 9, 1998; Alan Curtis, "A Long Way to Go," Chicago Sun-Times, April 26, 1998; and Alan Curtis, "Supply-Side Policies of the 1980s Opened Up a Class Breach," Washington Times, April 27, 1998. (See: What the Media Says About Us.)
51. Alan Curtis and Fred R. Harris. The Millennium Breach (Washington, DC: The Milton S. Eisenhower Foundation, 1998); Non-profits and Technology Journal, "Online Community To Tap for Non-profits," July, 1999, p. 1; and Andrew L. Shapiro, The Net That Binds: Using Cyberspace to Create Real Communities," Nation, June 21, 1999, pp. 11-15.
53. Alan Wolfe, "The New Politics of Inequality," The New York Times, September 22, 1999, p. A 27.
54. Jeff Faux, "The Economic Case for a Politics of Inclusion," paper prepared for the Eisenhower Foundation's 30th Anniversary Update of the Kerner Riot Commission (Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute, 1998); Jeff Faux, "You Are Not Alone," in Stanley B. Greenberg and Theda Skoopol, eds., The New Majority: Toward a Popular Progressive Politics (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1997). John Jeter, "Cities, Oldest Suburbs Becoming Allies," The Washington Post, February 22, 1998.
55. Albert H. Cantril and Susan Davis Cantril, Reading Mixed Signals: Ambivalence in American Public Opinion About Government, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1999). See also David Broder, "Voters of Two Minds," The Washington Post, September 26, 1999, p. B7.