In chapter 6 of Whatever It Takes, Tough elaborates on more of the challenges Geoffrey Canada faces as he tries to help raise the test scores of the Promise Academy middle school, a major component of the Harlem Children’s Zone.
Tough points out that one problem that stakeholders in the Promise Academy discussed were children at the middle school displaying troubling behavior and inadequate parental support. These young people were referred to be some as “bad apples,” and people wondered how much they were holding the school back.
If you were involved with the construction of a learning environment, an environment with both "good" and "bad" apples, so to speak, where would you be inclined to direct your attention and energies—toward trying to address the problem of troubled children or trying to find a ways to expand the impact of the highly capable ones? Why?
Discussions about "good" and “bad" apples, by the way, can sometimes lead to problematic comments. We'd like to move beyond the typical, condescending talk.