(Mpls) Star-Tribune editorial re small schools
- Subject: (Mpls) Star-Tribune editorial re small schools
- From: Joe Nathan <UMJoe@AOL.COM>
- Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 21:00:20 EDT
- Reply-to: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
- Sender: Assessment Reform Network Mailing List <ARN-L@LISTS.CUA.EDU>
Editorial: Smaller schools -- Report highlights benefits
> Published Sep 17 2001
> Last year, America spent an estimated $21.5 billion on new school
> construction. During the next five years, that price tag is expected to
> quadruple to nearly $85 billion for new and remodeled buildings. With that
> kind of investment on the horizon, now is a good time think about what kind
> of schools should be built.
> A University of Minnesota study released last week offers sensible
> After studying 24 programs across the nation, the university's Center for
> School Change (CSC) concluded that smaller programs (400 students or fewer)
> can be cost-effective and do a better job with students. The report makes a
> strong case for considering school construction and remodeling in new ways.
> Schools of the future should be planned more often in conjunction with other
> services. They should share space with city, county or nonprofit service
> providers. If schools are thought of as community resources they can easily
> be co located with libraries, health clinics, recreation centers, colleges
> and preschool or seniors programs.
> Take, for example, the Northfield Community Resource Center, one of the CSC
> case studies. Opened last year, the center is a partnership between the
> schools district, county and several nonprofits. It serves seniors, Head
> Start pre-schoolers, families and about 110 teens and young adults in an
> alternative public school. The cooperative arrangements encourage
> relationships between generations, and allows them to share the use and cost
> of facilities and equipment.
> A similar arrangement in Phoenix pairs a charter high school with a
> college. Students there can take college courses and share classrooms, labs,
> computers and libraries. Some districts, including Minneapolis and St. Paul,
> are reorganizing larger high schools into more manageable, smaller
> In addition to being cost-efficient, learning improves in more intimate
> programs. When students get to know teachers and feel connected to their
> communities, test scores and graduation rates go up and discipline programs
> go down. Families, students and teachers also report greater satisfaction
> with their educational experience.
> During the past several decades, the trend has been to create mega schools
> both to house swelling populations and offer more courses and activities.
> with growing numbers of kids feeling isolated, experience has taught that
> bigger isn't always better. As school boards move to serve more students and
> replace aging classrooms, they should create smaller, more student-friendly
> learning environments.
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