Why do most studies show smaller high schools (700-1200) to be better educational environments?
Giant schools are elitist. That is a built-in condition. There are so many students, that to shine in an extra-curricular activity, or even make a school team, takes an extraordinary amount of talent. The average student is disengaged, left to watch, not participate.
A feeling of being anonymous is also pervasive. The hallways are full of strangers. This is not what teenagers need in order to feel welcome, comfortable and ready to learn. That’s why we’re being told of ‘smaller learning communities’ in the expanded Fayetteville High School. But, these communities are not islands nor autonomous of the larger school. You can’t effectively or positively segregate kids in their own school.
This educational culture of individual neglect is inexcusable, and creates problems from high dropout rates, feelings of loneliness, lower academic achievement and additional challenges in the classroom for teachers. Why are we doing this?
Fayetteville High has one sign in front of the school. Its only recognition is for the AP students. What is that, 15 or 20 percent of the students? What about the others? Where is their recognition? How are teachers supposed to reach and motivate those that are basically neglected by the ‘system’? Why do our superintendent and school board refuse to even talk about the benefits of two smaller high schools? Are there really any good reasons for having one large high school? Why are we so apathetic concerning a decision that will affect the quality of our children’s education for decades to come?
Quality education has everything to do with the size of the school. That is the community’s commitment to the student: we value you, we want your participation, and we recognize you as a unique and important part of this school. Smaller schools allow this; larger schools prevent it.