Education as if Citizenship Mattered: Leonard Covello and the Making of Benjamin Franklin High School
Michael Johanek and John Puckett, University of Pennsylvania
Leonard Covello, Benjamin Franklin High School’s founding principal (1934-1956), along with his professional allies Vito Marcantonio, Fiorello LaGuardia, and others in East Harlem, built a community school infrastructure geared to educating young people as agents for a most just and humane society. Every facet of Franklin’s community program focused on civic education, reinforced the high school’s instructional program and community work, and modeled engaged public work citizenship. In their book Leonard Covello and the Making of Benjamin Franklin High School (Temple University Press, 2007), Michael Johanek and John Puckett consider how, and to what extent, Covello was able to balance the demands of disciplinary studies and state examinations with his commitment to civic education and democratic community development. The experience of community-centered schooling in East Harlem suggests the power and promise of an institutional commitment and institutional modeling of democratic citizenship.