Angelo Patri, writing in A Schoolmaster of the Great City in 1917:
The great school is one that preserves its life, dignifies it, holds itself responsible for the neighborhood and compels the neighborhood to rise to its highest level.
Unless a school enters deeply into the lives of the people, that school will not enter deeply into the lives of the children or into the lives of the teachers. Unless the school is the great democratic socializing agency, it is nothing at all.
Gary Stager had referenced this book to me on a number of occasions, saying that Patri solved all the problems of current schooling almost 100 years ago. After reading it on the plane ride home from my trip to Australia, I have to agree. This is a quick, eloquent, relevant read on lots of levels. At it’s heart, it’s about loving kids, about putting their welfare above all else, about really understanding how kids learn and how schools can best help them learn.
If you’re an educator, this would be a great way to start thinking about the new school year.