Magazine article District Administration

One Size Doesn't Fit All. (Notebook: Usable Education Information from Schools, Business, Research and Professional Organizations)

Magazine article District Administration

One Size Doesn't Fit All. (Notebook: Usable Education Information from Schools, Business, Research and Professional Organizations)

Article excerpt

Schools fail. This is a hard fact for school districts across the country. Districts are desperate for ways to bring failing schools and the students who drop out of them back into the educational fold. One approach that seems to be working is the movement away from large schools, back to small schools.

In San Francisco, three out of 10 high schools in the district are technically failing, especially when it comes to minorities. According to Mark Sanchez, commissioner of the San Francisco Unified School District, they've "tried everything in this district," layered reform over reform, and there has been no dent in the failure rate. Research into small schools by a committee from the Teachers for Social Justice shows that small schools that replaced large schools in places like Philadelphia, New York and Chicago are showing higher graduation rates, larger college entrance numbers and better grades. A New York University study on the effects of size on schools showed that smaller schools are cheaper to graduate out, due to the lower drop-out rate: the cost per student from matriculation to graduation is lower because the investment in students who don't complete school is not made.

"Small schools" can mean academies within existing larger schools, or it can mean a new stand-alone structure designed to handle about 400 students. …

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