I wrote about this first in 2006, with a post inviting progressives to embrace the wisdom of small schools. In that post, I noted that the average school went from serving 100 students in 1930 ... to more than 600 students in 2002.
Well, the verdict is in (again) on small schools, and they are definitely a positive force in education.
Fifty years ago, they were the latest thing in educational reform: big, modern, suburban high schools with students counted in the thousands. As baby boomers came of high-school age, big schools promised economic efficiency, a greater choice of courses, and, of course, better football teams. Only years later did we understand the trade-offs this involved: the creation of lumbering bureaucracies, the difficulty of forging personal connections between teachers and students.
Of course, the charter schooll advocates will jump all over this as an affirmation of their schemes, but don't get distracted. This issue is about size, pure and simple, and the Department of Public Instruction is fully capable of choosing and operating small schools. All they need is the political will.
Maybe our next governor will jump on the small schools bandwagon too?