Hillary Clinton Advocates For Community Schools Model
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks at the American Federation of Teachers convention at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minneapolis, Monday, July 18, 2016.
In a recent speech before the American Federation of Teachers, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s voice cracked as she discussed major inequities in the quality of education that students from low-income families receive.
“That’s a stain on all of us. Let’s create more community schools, more partnerships between schools and services and nonprofit organizations. Let’s pledge that we’ll give children who need it the mental health services that they deserve,” Clinton said.
Community schools — which provide social services to students on the school premises and prioritize community and parent engagement — have been around for a long time, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Baltimore, New York City, and Chicago have almost 400 community schools put together and Oakland has almost 30 of these community hubs. But the concept has only recently gained steam on a national level as a potential solution for the closing opportunity gaps between low-income and middle class and wealthy children in schools across the country.
Advocates for equity in education favor a community schools approach because, by including social services and health services within or near the school building, educators can better address social factors outside of the school’s control. For example, if a student wants to speak with a mental health professional, they can go to an office nearby.
Educators argue that if factors such as illness, hunger, and mental health issues were addressed at school, children would ultimately be more successful.
“If a student is hungry at school, they will not be able to learn. If a student has health issues, of course they won’t be able to learn or perform on tests. None of this can happen unless the fundamental needs of the students and families are met,” said Marina Marcou-O’Malley, policy director for the Alliance for Quality Education of New York’s Public Policy and Education Fund. She added that the goal is to make the school environment “a welcoming and positive place” for struggling students.
Over the past several years, major cities have made huge strides toward developing more community schools.
New York’s Board of Regents, for instance, met earlier this month to discuss how schools can qualify for funding from a $75 million pot set aside for community schools. This $75 million marked major progress for groups pushing for community school expansion, such as Alliance for Quality Education of New York, Coalition for Educational Justice, Make the Road NY, and Hillary Clinton Advocates For Community Schools Model | ThinkProgress: