Teachers, Parents, Students, Citizens
What Is School For?
New York Times, September 1, 2022
This compilation of a dozen articles in the New York Times this month is a veritable feast of ideas and reflections on education – well-timed as we begin our work in schools anew, creating plans and rituals for the 2022-23 school year. Anya Kamenetz reminds us of the vision of Horace Mann – how "he championed schools as the crucible of democracy." Lamenting COVID’s devastating impact on public schools, she goes on to say that "Mann’s inclusive vision is under particular threat right now" and compels us to reinvigorate our commitments to diversity of identity and diversity of thought in school communities and classrooms. Emily Hanford discusses literacy's colossal impact and import: "The most important thing schools can do is teach children how to read. If you can read, you can learn anything." Emphasizing the science of reading, Hanford advocates for explicit reading instruction for all students, citing a surprising absence of such across the United States. Students from Oakland's Fremont High weigh in as well: "School is a community, a common place to gain relationships." "School is about making mistakes and learning from them." "Being in school lets you be yourself." A model of journalism engaging multiple perspectives – those of teachers, parents, students, and other citizens in this case – exploring topics from citizenry and care to economics and merit, this twelve-piece study offers insights and provocations for us all.