Paul Tough, Barbara Bowman on “soft skills”

Print More

Journalist Paul Tough says many education reform efforts are bound to fail if they don’t address the non-cognitive qualities children need to succeed in school and beyond. The seeds for these qualities are planted in early childhood with a good bond between parent and child, which can protect a child from toxic stress. They also can be developed in the teenage years.

In his new book, “How Children Succeed,” Tough also argues that a narrow focus on education reform has blocked a needed discussion about poverty policy — and addressing poverty in our society more broadly. Tough spoke at the Sept. 27 Chicago School Policy Forum, “Sweating the Soft Stuff: Qualities Needed for Learning and How to Nurture Them.”

Barbara Bowman, former president of the Erikson Institute and former head of the CPS Office of Early Childhood Education, responded.