CRF Blog

True Grit

by Bill Hayes

In True Grit for the New York Times Book Review, Judity Warner reviews Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why by Paul Tough.

Four years ago, the New York Times Magazine journalist Paul Tough published a book titled “How Children Succeed,” which argued that the modern obsession with increasing student scores in reading and math misses most of what matters in education. Instead, character traits like grit, curiosity, persistence and self–control are the keys to success in school, college and life.

Test-weary parents and teachers embraced the message, and Tough spent the next few years speaking, traveling and reporting on programs laboring to put these ideas into practice. But in doing so, he noticed a “paradox” — many of the educators who were unusually good at teaching grit and self-control didn’t use those words to describe their aims. Often, they weren’t even aware that they were avatars of what Tough believed was a groundbreaking new approach to education. [more]