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Let’s Get Small

I’ve ranted before about the education reform concept which transforms huge high schools into smaller learning communities. The LA Times offers a good look at the proposal to change all the city schools into this new format. However, some people think that trying to do this with 131 schools (middle and high) in just two to three years will be difficult if not impossible.

Converting to small schools, said Pedro A. Noguera, a professor at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education and the director of the Metropolitan Center for Urban Education, "is a fairly complex process, and it typically takes time to pull it off. You’re not just changing the structure of schools. You are changing the structure in order to improve the teaching and the relationships between adults and kids."

He’s right. Making a smaller version of the same old school will lead to even more failure. The only way to improve high schools – a format that was largely locked in place more than sixty years ago – is to tear the whole thing apart and rebuild it from scratch.

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2 Comments

  1. I can just imagine all the new administrative jobs that this
    would create. And probably no reduction in class sizes for
    teachers.

  2. Tim

    You’ll have more administrative positions IF you keep the same old model for running schools. This also must change. A better model would be to have a team of teachers, with one lead who still teaches at least one class, run the school.

    Class size is another concept that needs changing. Again, I would rather see a team approach where a group of teacher work with a group of students. The size of a “class” changes with the activity, topic being taught, and other factors on a day to day basis.

    I don’t have the specifics of how all this would work but I do know that we cannot just take the old model and shrink it down. The whole structure of high school must change.

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