Small Schools: The Myths, Reality, and Potential

By STUART GRAUER and CHRISTINA RYAN

Amidst a steady hundred-year American trend towards larger secondary schools, we set out to study small school benefits. We were aware of various myths distorting our collective viewpoints about what a school should be, and our research turned up more.  We were equally aware of an historic gap of knowledge on the benefits of small schools, and this was borne out; but the big surprise that turned up in our research was the dearth of information on the relative benefits of the nation’s larger schools, the consolidated, comprehensive school model which predominates in our nation.

The historical rationale for consolidated, comprehensive schools–economies of scale, social equality, and increased program offerings—were widely known (Nguyen). The alarming part was that these assumed benefits had virtually never been verified and, as we weighed these benefits of large schools in the balance against those of small schools we found them—all three of them, as well as several more which emerged—to be either questionable or outright false.  read entire article

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Community Works Institute (CWI) provides resources, professional development, and collaboration opportunities for educators. Our focus is on place based education, service learning, and sustainability.
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