Adult Employment And School District Mission

Andrew Rotherham:

School districts around the country are getting ready for the 2017 school year, which for many starts in just a few weeks. Officials are thinking about transporting students to school, what they’ll feed them, health services for them, sports teams and schedules, and all the other things we call on school districts to do. Meanwhile, if you’re lucky, someone might also be focused on who is going to teach your child and what they’re going to teach.

Backward? Yes, of course it is. And like many things in our education system it’s not what we might design but instead what has evolved and embedded itself over time. Teaching and learning, ostensibly the core functions of schools and school districts, are now just one among many important things we expect them to do. Larger school districts operate food services rivaling restaurant chains and transportation programs on par with large bus companies. We wouldn’t ask Greyhound to also get really good at introducing students to algebraic concepts in the early grades or call on Five Guys to teach Shakespeare, so why we do expect school districts to be great at complicated work like transportation and food as well as teaching?

Related: A focus on adult employment.