Journal Article

Promising School Social Work Practices of the 1920s: Reflections for Today

Gary L. Shaffer

in Children & Schools

Published on behalf of National Association of Social Workers

Volume 28, issue 4, pages 243-251
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 1532-8759
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1545-682X | DOI:
Promising School Social Work Practices of the 1920s: Reflections for Today

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As we celebrate the centennial of school social work, the field faces many of the same professional and social situations first encountered at the turn of the past century. Immigrant populations are growing rapidly, social worker—student ratios continue to be high, and schools remain bureaucratic, inflexible, and slow to change. The “Roaring Twenties” marked the greatest expansion in early school social work, and a time in which many of the core functions were first identified. These functions persist today as school social work retains its role linking home, school, and community. However, the social action and leadership emphasis of early school social work pioneers has been replaced primarily by casework with maladjusted students and a peripheral role in the decision-making process in schools. This article identifies successful practice, training, and education of early school social work practitioners and reflects on how current practice has advanced or digressed with the passage of time.

Keywords: history; promising practice; school social work

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Schools Studies

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