Common Purpose

Lisbeth B. Schorr, Author, Schorr, Author
Lisbeth B. Schorr, Author, Schorr, Author Doubleday Books $27.5 (512p) ISBN 978-0-385-47532-7
Paperback - 512 pages - 978-0-385-47533-4
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This prodigiously researched study by Schorr (Within Our Reach: Breaking the Cycle of Disadvantage), head of the Harvard University Project on Effective Intervention, is an optimistic and well-thought-out call to action in the wake of cutbacks in the social safety net, most notably the repeal of federal welfare benefits in 1996. The author argues that effective pilot projects that substantially reduce child abuse, school failure, teenage pregnancy and welfare dependency can be built into large-scale programs that will eventually transform society. Detailed here are a variety of projects that have grown well beyond their original scope, such as school principal Deborah Meier's revitalization of public schools in East Harlem, which led to the creation of the New York Network for School Renewal, and Michigan's Families First Project, which became a statewide program linking families in crisis with the resources they need. According to Schorr, these initiatives succeed because they are flexible, well managed and committed to forming partnerships with families and communities, and they utilize a combination of public and private funding. (Sept.)
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