Schools are the Hearts of Communities

Although Anthony Cody gives us much to think about in his questions and suggestions about Bernie Sanders’ run for President as a Democrat, I want to address one point that speaks to my experience:

School closures are devastating to communities, and have been focused in African American and Latino neighborhoods. This results in community decay and spurs gentrification. Research shows federal efforts to “turn around” high poverty schools have not succeeded. This policy should be halted, and schools in these communities should be supported with wraparound social services to directly address poverty, not destroyed.

I grew up in a rural, poor community and went to small public schools with few resources. Looking back, it is clear to me that the school was the heart of the community, and that is true for schools in the city as well as the country. From the sports teams, to the Pancake Suppers, to the local votes on millage increases to pay for repairs and new buildings, to the Quiz Bowl teams that travel to neighboring schools, schools provide identity, purpose, and a sense of the future to a community. To lay off half the staff or shut down a school is for America to apply a scorched earth policy against its own citizens…this might make sense if the Wehrmacht were rolling in.

But there ain’t no Wehrmacht today. There’s just elites tearing apart American communities… and it is even more shameful they are focusing this on communities of historically oppressed minorities.


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