I've gotten lots of feedback about my Education Gadfly column on extra-curricular activities; several friends have written gleefully to make the connection between my piece and Randi Weingarten's big speech last week, particularly its call for schools as community centers. (Checker made that connection in the Gadfly itself.)
That's all in good fun, and yes, on the surface, it might appear that we're talking about the same thing. But upon closer inspection, you'll find that our visions are actually polar opposites. First, here's Randi:
Can you imagine a federal law that promoted community schools--schools that serve the neediest children by bringing together under one roof all the services and activities they and their families need... and suppose the schools included child care and dental, medical, and counseling clinics, or other services the community needs.
And now me:
Here's a suggestion: architects designing high schools of the future should skip the classrooms but keep the gym, the auditorium, and other common spaces. In other words, forget the "school" and build a "community center" instead. Kids could learn academics at home and come to the center for all the rest.