There is a recent trend in education that the student to teacher ratio needs to change. The class size needs to become smaller. I would say that this is a correct evaluation, but I feel that there is more to it. When the total population of the school is quite large, but the classes are small, this only treats the symptoms and ignores the source.
Schools have become too large these days. Students are not getting the personalized attention that they need to do well. It seems that schools have become an unsafe place. The most serious indication of this problem is the shootings that occur. I feel that this is a big sign that students are being overlooked and not receiving the care that they need.
So, what is the answer. What if we had several small schools spread out instead of huge schools. I have noticed that the graduation rate is often times 100% in these small communities. I know that it may be different because they are small rural schools. But what can be learned from this. The small rural schools have small class sizes as well as a small total school size. Each student is known by the principal and staff. The students have a place and are taken care of. I have even been to K-12 schools where the superintendent knows every single student and their family.
In large schools it is easy for a student to get lost and not feel important, which is especially difficult during adolescence. In large schools it is not likely that the principal will know even half the students. The superintendent will probably only know a couple of the students, if any. What is wrong with this picture? It is a system that does not promote a caring society and when the students leave they will go into a world that does not care, either.
What if several small schools were set up so that the students were cared for. This would mean that when they left school, the society as a whole would be more caring for each other because they learned how to socially interact. It would mean that our society as a whole would be more community based which would reduce some of the problems that we have. It would also mean that our kids would do better in school because somebody was caring for the students and keeping an eye on their progress. Students would be challenged to their potential and the students that needed extra help would receive it.
Call me an idealist, but I feel that it is time to downsize the school system. As schools continue to grow in population we will continue to see the existence of the educational gap. This will produce a system that students will try to beat, instead of promoting authentic learning.