The movement to establish community schools has come a long way since the AFT made it a priority in 2008. In the cover story of the Fall 2015 issue of American Educator, Martin J. Blank and Lisa Villarreal explain how more than 150 communities across the country have established these schools to reduce chronic absences due to poor health, decrease disciplinary issues and truancy rates, increase family engagement, expand educational opportunity, and ultimately improve teaching and learning.
The next article in the new issue takes a look at the specific community school effort in Austin, Texas, where one high-poverty school's transformation has evolved into a partnership between the union and the district to turn other high-poverty schools into community schools.
The issue also includes two articles detailing the successful ways that the Saint Paul Federation of Teachers in Minnesota partnered with community members to better support students and teachers. The first article recounts how the local union, in negotiating its most recent contract, rallied community members to win a collective bargaining agreement that goes far beyond wages and benefits to include programs and services for students and families. The second article describes how a veteran teacher worked with the union to create a home visit program that shows educators and parents what they have in common: seeing children succeed.
Next, an article explains America's long but often forgotten history of bilingual education and why such instruction benefits not only language minority students but also those who speak English at home.
The fall issue concludes with an article on how research shows that students remember far more of what they learn in school than they might think.
[Jennifer Dubin/illustration by Kazushige Nitta]