Schools as Community Centers

Making schools into community centers by opening buildings for 16-hour usage per day, seven days a week makes sense. US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is the latest proponent for the seemingly exceptional shift. On Charlie Rose recently he laid down the line, and its good to hear the federal government coming out on the side of communities.

For youth liberationists this may be a tricky call to arms, primarily because it calls for more exposure to these apparent institutions of oppression. However, I am not a liberationist. I am a radical inclusionist, and in this way I believe that any opportunity to transform the adultcentric decisions made everyday throughout our society into being inclusive of young people is a good thing. Now, its not enough to simply decide to let kids come and play or read or eat or hang out or otherwise just linger in schools after school – although I know that is exactly what more than a few young people in this country need, which is a safe and supportive environment to spend with caring adults. I know that. However, I also know that these young people (which included me as a youth), and all young people, need more than just involvement – we need opportunities to become engaged. They need a chance to build that sentiment towards their communities, towards their families and schools and places of worship and neighbors and peers and all these places where we need them desperately to become more than themselves. 
Barack Obama recently reminded us of the urgent necessity of education by proclaiming that, “When you drop out you’re not just giving up on yourself, you’re giving up on your country.” Schools are one avenue for learning that we should uphold and strenghten, day and night, to secure meaningful, successful learning opportunities for all people of all ages. Now, while we’re into making them open day and night, let’s talk about making schools meaningful

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