Community schools for neediest students

Students who are poor, homeless or learning English are finding hope in what are called community schools (“The Community School Comes of Age,” The New York Times, Jan. 10).  These students have huge deficits that few traditional public schools are equipped to handle. But longer days, longer school years, combined with wraparound services from psychologists, optometrists and dentists, have resulted in an increase in graduation and attendance.

There are presently some 5,000 community schools across the country, with New York City alone the home to 247.  Whether they will grow in number is unclear because of the obsession with test scores as the No. 1 measure of success.  I say that since spending on public schools has increased without a significant improvement in student performance.  I hope I’m wrong, particularly for disadvantaged students who deserve a better opportunity in life.

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2 Replies to “Community schools for neediest students”

  1. Community schools are an excellent idea. But, ideally, govt should extend the concept to preschool years — ideally, starting while the mother is pregnant with improved prenatal health/nutrition for low-SES mothers + including high-quality preschool starting at the earliest possible age for the low-SES children.

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  2. Labor Lawyer: The concept of community schools is not altogether new. The Harlem Childrens’ Zone under Geoffrey Canada started providing wraparound services beginning when women became pregnant. But it was not a public school. Instead, it was funded by philanthropists.

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