The old African adage says: it takes a village to raise a child. And tirelessly— teachers, school leaders, resource providers, parents and advocates fight for students. The main fight is for better achievement for all kids, but to level the playing the field particular emphasis must be on the disadvantaged students. The desire is to narrow academic score gaps, gain access to high quality teachers, obtain budget increases, increase equity and school safety and so much more within Title I schools.
However, when we examine the nationwide models: curriculums, programs and schools, some of which do practice the “it takes a village approach”, core academic gaps nationwide steadily persist. The problem is that we are leaving out educating the whole child.
Disaggregated student achievement data makes it clear that reading, writing and arithmetic is not enough. It is our most disadvantaged and vulnerable students that statistically remain at the bottom of these gaps because a critical fundamental education practice is missing— which is consistent social emotional training and development. Until we start consistently providing reading, writing, arithmetic and social emotional learning to all grade levels, our educational system will consistently fail the disadvantaged student.