In a column at Scholastic Administrator, Alexander Russo tries to make the case that schools should not be addressing social issues that directly affect student learning.
There’s no doubt that students’ home lives play an important role in their school success. The question is whether schools are really the best vehicle through which to address deeper social issues such as poverty, lack of childcare or health insurance, inadequate access to transportation, and adult illiteracy. My view is that they’re not.
He’s right, of course.
But only if we continue to accept the traditional concept of “school”: a place where kids are segregated from the real world for six hours a day, 180 days a year.
Where students are expected to progress academically in that hermetically sealed environment at the same pace as their peers, regardless of their background, the support they receive at home, or the community outside the door.
Schools, the ones found in most American neighborhoods, certainly are not the best vehicle to correct all the variety of social problems that influence an increasing number of our students.
Educators, however, cannot ignore those factors and that’s one more good reason why we need create a totally new concept of “school”.