A School Reform Strategy That Works Huffington Post In her education policy speech at The New School last week and his state of the state address earlier this month, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn and Governor Andrew Cuomo respectively called...
"....Community schools are producing powerful results. Independent evaluations of New York City community schools have seen marked improvements in academic achievement, student and teacher attendance, parental engagement and school safety. A recent three-year evaluation shows that middle school students who participated in after-school programs at Children's Aid community schools attained steadily rising and significantly higher scores on math and reading tests than non-participants. Studies of community schools implementations in other communities show outcomes including higher immunization rates, increased enrollment in breakfast programs, improved teacher and student attendance and higher college matriculation rates.
The education reform debate has been stuck for too long between competing advocates offering a set of false choices. One set of advocates believe that schools must be held accountable for student success regardless of what challenges students bring to the schoolhouse doors. They argue that excellent teaching will overcome hunger, homelessness and family instability. The other side argues that schools cannot be expected to educate children unless we can overcome the challenges poverty places in their paths, and that schools cannot be expected to accomplish this alone.
Community schools offer a way out of this tired debate, because the truth is that both sides are right. We need to provide schools with the resources to address the poverty-related barriers to student learning. And we must hold schools accountable for ensuring that all students achieve, regardless of race, creed, nationality, or class.
I applaud Speaker Quinn and Governor Cuomo for their bold vision of a collaborative, coordinated and accountable education system. Education reform that will benefit all children can be achieved only by revolutionizing what schools can and should be, and ensuring that institutions like hospitals and businesses become part of the solution. If we are truly serious about changing the odds for the one-third of New York City children who are growing up in poverty, then we must make every New York City school a community school and give every child an opportunity to achieve the American dream..."