The old proverb says, “It takes a village to raise the child.” Here lately, it is not clear where the village is and if the village members still believe they have this duty.
My fellow Indy K12 colleague, Andrew Pillow, shared the following earlier this month on Twitter:
A school can fail students for years without a single person complaining.
The second you talk about closing it the whole community comes together to save it.
I wish they had the same energy for students as they do for buildings.
This implies that the village’s focus is not in the right place. Schools are part of the community and the students that attend those schools are the children the village is supposed to be helping raise up. It seems they show up to “help” for selfish reasons.
When school districts suggest closing a school building, people become angry. The reasons they share are mostly rooted in nostalgia. “My mom and grandmother went to that school.” Not much reflection is done on the quality of the school. Was the school really that great when mom or grandmom went there?
Schools of poor quality are typically known but instead of finding support for the teachers or students at that school, the village is silent until the school building is in jeopardy. Some people spend more time fighting against different types of schools than actually doing any work to help the students in the schools they think are being somehow harmed by the existence of schools like public charter schools or private schools that accept vouchers.
The bottom line is the focus is misplaced and students suffer. Don’t get me wrong, when schools close, students are impacted. However, the questions we must ask: Is keeping this school open better than sending the students to another school?
In the meantime, every member of the village should spend their time helping children in the community. K-12 education is only a fraction of our lives, so we do not have much time to wait around before rolling up our sleeves.