Old buildings – Smart kids

Duluth’s showing in recent statewide tests of our students were mentioned in today’s Trib.

Let me point out that these results were achieved in the old buildings that the School Board is so hot to tear down at the likely cost of $5 million operting costs. (When the hoped for fall levy is voted down rather than renewed) It will be interesting to see if new buildings can compensate for dozens of laid off teachers.

These tests are part of the Federal No Child Left Behind effort which is the bane of so many in public education. Today’s NPR broadcast had a good story on NCLB this morning but I didn’t see it listed on their website. However, they have another interesting story on small vs. big schools. A sample:

Small probably is better, even if it’s more expensive (and it probably isn’t). Many small schools insist they can turn on a dime and change their educational strategies while big schools are like oil tankers and change slowly. Small schools can cultivate a family feel and keep a closer eye on kids likely to fall through the cracks. Big schools do have their high points — diversity of courses, extracurricular sports — but small programs can often piggyback on big schools and, for example, send students to the local high schools for football.

There’s a real hunger out there for education that’s tailored to the needs of individual kids. With more than a million kids dropping out of the American school system every year, smaller, innovative schools have a huge audience to serve