Author Paul Tough thinks America’s schools aren’t doing a good job teaching character. Tough has covered education for the New York Times Magazine and This American Life. His latest book is How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.
Tough was in Memphis to speak at a charter school run by the Knowledge Is Power Program, or KIPP, which aims to teach character skills—things like zest, self-control, and, yes, grit—alongside math and reading.
Tennessee’s new Achievement School District kicked off the year with a party. In the parking lot beside Frayser Elementary School, kids danced, slid on slides, and bounced in inflated houses. There was even a rock-climbing wall and laser-tag.