Universities and Community Schools Journal, Fall 2020

Posted by Netter Center for Community Partnerships on November 3, 2020

Universities and Community Schools, Vol. 10, No. 1, Fall 2020

This issue of Universities and Community Schools appears at a particularly important moment. The pandemic and murders of Black people by police have laid bare deadly inequities, racism, and social injustice in American society. They simultaneously highlight the limitations, indeed the failures, of our institutions, including universities, to do what they were designed to do. The diverse Black Lives Matter movement and growing campus activism both in face-to-face and remote settings, among other developments, indicate a growing recognition that things need to fundamentally change—and change now.

University-assisted community schools is an approach that from its very beginnings in the late 1980s has been developed and implemented to produce significant change on campus, in the community and its schools, and in the wider society. The articles in this issue of Universities and Community Schools are a powerful indicator that university-assisted community schools across the United States have been doing just that. As impressive as the progress is and has been, it is obvious from recent events that university-assisted community schools need to do more, much more.

In 1939, John Dewey wrote the article “Creative Democracy – The Task Before Us” in response to the growing threat of Nazism. Dewey described democracy as “a way of life controlled by a working faith in the possibilities of human nature.” He went on to write, “Intolerance, abuse, calling of names because of differences of opinion about religion or politics or business, as well as because of differences of race, color, wealth or degree of culture are treason to the democratic way of life.” Following Dewey’s lead, university-assisted community schools must function as democratic, anti-racist, justice- and equity-seeking institutions. The articles in this issue discuss how colleagues across the country are working with their school and community partners to bring that kind of university-assisted community school into being, simultaneously helping to further develop a national movement for democracy and social change.

Finally, we have dedicated this issue of UCS to Joann Weeks, who retired in June after 27 years of dedicated service to Penn, the Netter Center, West Philadelphia, and our regional, national and global partners. This is her last issue as editor of UCS. Joann has exemplified the values that drive the Netter Center’s work, including collaboration, compassion, and ethical, inclusive leadership –values that could not be more important at this time.

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