May 15, 2021

Jeremy Mohler: Biden proposes increasing funding for community schools by 15 times the current level

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Jeremy Mohler writes at the website for In The Public Interest. During Teacher Appreciation Week, he noted that the Biden administration is prepared to up the funding for community schools, and he shares a story of why that makes sense, and how it can be a part of showing teacher appreciation.

It’s Teacher Appreciation Week. Want to know how to really appreciate teachers?

Besides paying them what they deserve, of course.

How about making sure their students have the support and resources they need in and out of school? And what about making sure public school families have what they need too?

That’s why we need more public schools to become “community schools.”

The community school strategy is all about fulfilling not only the educational needs of students but also the basic needs of families.

Here’s a great example: Gibsonton Elementary outside of Tampa, Florida, improved standardized test scores between 2017-18 and 2018-19 by responding to issues its students were facing.

The biggest issue? Based on outreach to students, parents, business leaders, nonprofits, and others in the area: a low rate of student attendance.

The area surrounding the school has been left behind in the rapid growth of the Tampa metro area. Most of Gibsonton’s students are Hispanic (56.4 percent), and nearly all are economically disadvantaged (94.1 percent).

So the school expanded its on-campus food offerings, gave away backpacks full of school supplies, and installed a campus washer-dryer. It even organized an effort to have the county install new streetlights around campus to increase student safety.

“Today I helped a family find a home,” Gibsonton’s community school coordinator Catherine Gilmore told journalist Jeff Bryant. “In November and December [2020], we helped families deal with evictions and utilities.”

That’s how we appreciate teachers.

Read the rest of the piece here.


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