Interview with Juanita Wade

So, back in the 1960s, why was there a need for community schools, and how were they different from Boston Public Schools?


Well, the mid '60s represented a time for particularly Black parents in Boston to seek alternatives to public education. Um, parents saw that public education was not offering young people not only the e- the strong education that they needed, but the social relationships, a recognition of who they were as African Americans, just was not happening in the Boston Public School System, so there was a real move, community-wide, to develop institutions that would meet both of those needs**. An opportunity for parents to have close relationships with teachers, for them to have some say over what they're taught in the classroom, how young people interacted, and the directions that young people set for themselves. We know in the mid '60s, if you think back, many teachers in the Boston Public School System limited our options, told us we were going to be menial laborers, that we were not going to be professionals. And parents wanted options, different options to that. So the community school movement developed very, very quickly. Parents began to take over some of the institutions that were run by the Archdiocese. Um, and parents just began to use homes for classrooms, um, starting small, with small tuitions to get families to begin to come together and say, "We can build an educational institution." Many parents worked in the schools without degrees. We're talking about parents who knew child-rearing, who knew nurturing, and knew loving, were not necessarily, um, prepared for- to understand all of the methods of instruction, but based on their willingness, um, and strong belief that they can in fact educate their own children, participated in that educational process as teachers. And many of those parents went on to, to college to become educators now, professionally educated.


Great, cut. Wonderful, good.