The young women in this story have labels. Three labels: Single, mother, college student. They’re raising a child and getting an education — three of the 2.6 million unmarried parents attending U.S. colleges and universities.
Getting a degree is hard enough for anyone, but these students face extra challenges. And when it comes to helping out with their needs, Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., is considered one of the best in the country.
It’s a liberal arts school with 1,100 students. There’s a large farm, an equestrian program, and 15 students in the Single Parent Scholars program. This year all are moms, though men are welcome too.
They live in apartments that once were dorm rooms. And they are easy to notice on campus.
“We have children running around the dining hall while everyone else is trying to eat,” says Heather Schuler. She’s 25, a sophomore psychology major and the mother of a 2-year-old son.
Schuler is sitting outside the dining hall with her friend Michelle Rogers, who has a 4-year-old daughter. Rogers, 27, a senior environmental studies major, says being a parent and a student requires some adjustments.
We asked prominent voices in education—from policy makers and teachers to activists and parents—to look beyond laws, politics, and funding and imagine a utopian system of learning. They went back to the drawing board—and the chalkboard—to build an educational Garden of Eden. We’re publishing their answers to one question each day this week. Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and length.
Today’s assignment: The Space. Describe the perfect classroom.