(Editor’s note: This is an opinion column from a Citified insider.)
City Council released a proposal last week to create “School-Based Family Service Centers” building on the recent popularity of the community schools concept. It’s the education idea that everyone — including mayoral candidates — can get behind: Jim Kenney announced a goal to create 25 community schools; Doug Oliver’s plan “Homework” calls for bringing City agencies, like health and human services, into schools; and both Senator Anthony Williams’ and Nelson Diaz’ education proposals call for schools to provide “wraparound services.”
And what’s not to love about community schools? Defined as “both a place and a set of partnerships between the school and other community resources,” they “integrate academics, health and social services, youth and community development and community engagement.” Supporters make this analogy: a traditional school is like a rotary phone — providing just education services — while a community school is like a smart phone — allowing a school and its community to connect with lots of needed services.
This sounds like a smart idea. So why aren’t we already doing it? The current public narrative about community schools seems to be evading a few key questions: Read more »