Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Price of Neglecting the Community Building Functions of Public Schools

In a society whose economy is crumbling, with net worth plummeting,the middle class shrinking, child poverty skyrocketing and more and people becoming homeless or doubling and tripling up with other families, it is a terrible mistake to turn neighborhood public schools into zones of fear and stress, where children are terrified of failing tests and principals and teachers terrified of losing their jobs. Instead, schools need to be place where children feel supported and nurtured, where parents and community members feel welcome round the clock, and where community programs are held which support and strengthen families. Unfortunately,none of our major school reform initiatives, which emphasize competition, between schools, between teachers, between students, value the community building functions of schools in hard times. Indeed, the "no excuses" philosophy driving testing and teacher evaluation is rooted a conscious effort to pretend that hard times don't exist. But since times are likely to get harder, not easier, the pressure schools are putting on already severely stressed communities is going to generate significant opposition. Those of us who anticipate this need to respond with practical suggestions of how schools can better serve the communities they are located in


Sue VanHattum said...

Is there more?

Mark Naison said...

Nope. This was a short one!!