This Isn’t Wright
Without input from the community, the LAUSD announces that it will hand off a public school building to a charter, displacing 510 students.
Growing up in New York, my elementary school was the center of the community. After school and on the weekends we would spend time on the playground. My Boy Scout troop met Wednesday nights in the lunchroom and I played little league baseball on the school’s fields. During the summer, the town would use the school for a day camp program.
The idea of bolstering neighborhood schools so that they could be more like the one from my childhood was a central pillar of the demands made by United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA) leading up to the strike in 2019. The community schools model leverages “public schools to become hubs of educational, recreational, cultural, health and civic partnerships, improving the education of children in the community and furthering the revitalization of the entire community.” In addition to changing the approach of education to better reflect the needs of the community, these schools would also confront the conditions that interfere with the student’s abilities to learn. On-site food programs and “wrap-around services such as health care, eye care and social and emotional services provided year-round to the full community.”
At the state level, $3 billion has been allocated towards converting “several thousand schools in low-income neighborhoods into centers of community life and providers of vital services for families as well as students.” These community schools will “take an integrated approach to students’ academic, health and social-emotional needs by making connections with an array of government and community services and by building trusting relationships with students and families.”