Since 2000, the Oakland Unified School District has seen enrollment drop by 16,000 students. At the same time, incidents of school-related violence have increased.
Writing in The Atlantic, Trey Bundy and Sarah Buthrymowicz describe the district's plans for stopping the bleeding. Under a community schools reform plan, "The goal is to handle whatever issues students bring to school that may affect learning: trauma, abuse, neglect, violence, gang tensions, immigration problems and a wide range of other physical, sexual and mental health issues," write the authors.
"The concept is one that has been around for decades, but is now gaining traction in districts across the U.S. as other reform efforts run up against problems related to poverty. Embrace of community schools is a stark shift from the "no-excuses" movement, which held that schools should be able to push all students to success no matter what their background. That idea dominated education reform for much of the last decade.
"Community schools are just the opposite. At its core, the concept represents an explicit acknowledgement that problems with a child's home life must be addressed to help students succeed academically."
- Bob Davis