by Dr. Terry Stoops
Director of the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Denise Superville’s Education Week article, In Some Cities, Closing Achievement Gaps Is Not for Schools to Fix Alone, examines the role of schools in providing social services to students. She writes,
The idea is that focusing on student’s individual needs in four areas—academics, health, family, and social-emotional well-being—and matching them with the right kinds of assistance and enrichment programs, will lead to more successful citizens in the long run.
Weaving a seamless and tailored web of services for children and families inside and outside of school has been the central tenet of an experiment underway in Salem and five other communities over the past two years.
I do not necessarily object to programs that provide housing, child care, health care, or food to families in need. I question whether these kinds of support services should flow through public schools. Can’t we allow teachers to focus on teaching and allow organizations, agencies, and charities to address the rest? Perhaps clarifying the division of labor would do some good.