Public schools in the past were extensions of the two-parent, multi-child family. They evolved as the institutions that often defined the neighborhood center and functioned as that center.
This, somewhat modified, has remained the model of the public school systems for decades, long after families and communities no longer are part of that model, when most families are no longer two-parent households, now in two parent homes, when both parents are likely to be working and when the mother is not likely to be at home.
Relationship between family and school were more intimate. The school was of the community. Today a smaller portion of the community is two-parent and more often than not both parents working.
Some children grow up in situations where no parent is present for most of the day, if at all.
In business terminology, the school system today is expected to produce a product other than it once did utilizing a different material unrelated to the present production system or to the desired finished product.
The public school has become an element of our culture which now needs to change its role as to the service it can provide our society. It needs to maintain a central community role by adding new strength to itself in serving the new social needs of children so that they can be made and remain educable.
The school system needs to compliment the role of today's parents, where in most cases, parents cannot continue to perform as they once did in their previous capacities.
Perhaps the centralizing community role can be maintained by an unexpected source where the elders of our society, who are also in need of community can assist.
Where the present family is no longer able to play the role it once did, the longer-living older generation can serve its own needs by their mere presence and add a required family element that's been diminished in our society today.
The school now needs to become the centralizing function of these social needs, permitting the seniors of the society to fulfill a parental presence as they themselves benefit from the intergenerational relationship that is not as available to many of them today.
I'd like to get some comments, especially from members of Shorewood's School Board and especially those who will be running for places on the School Board during the spring elections.