SEARCH BLOG: EDUCATION
Over the last two days, I have commented on Governor Granholm's [Michigan] idea to create about 100 small high schools of about 400 students each.
In a nutshell, I am not convinced that there are any distinct advantages of such smaller schools and there may be distinct disadvantages. I have received direct email communication from one concerned reader who feels that smaller schools may be the only way to save public high schools. He provided some links to information about teaching methods that you can find in this post.
My disagreement with this person is not about teaching methods he has advocated; those can be applied to schools of many different sizes. Rather, I believe that the basic organization and curriculum of high schools... even with the benefit of computer technology... is archaic.
I have proposed that rather than model high schools along the lines of middle schools, model them along the lines of a university that contains multiple "colleges." Imagine a traditional school of, say 2,000 students, split into several discrete units that, while physically in the same building, would function semi-autonomously.The following is a conceptual representation of this University Model for a high school.
The number of students in each "college" would be dependent on student interest. It could be 200 or 600. What is important is the students are offered classes that both interest and educate them... prepare them for their futures.Don't be too concerned if some subjects aren't shown in this conceptual representation or if you are uncomfortable with the groupings.
You can click on the image to see a larger view:
Certain portions of these curricula
could be part of a general requirement
for freshmen and sophomores, such as
language and literature. Writing skills
could be incorporated into other courses.
It is designed to appeal to the varied interests of students while having sufficient academic challenges in the areas of reading and language skills, mathematics, and science within each "college". Certainly, this is meant as a concept for further work and refinement, but I have long felt that the traditional organization of high school was for the convenience of the educators as opposed to the education of the students.Imagine the Lake Orion High School described in yesterday's post with this University Model. It is an ideal candidate. The facilities are among the best. The present curriculum offers innovative alternative courses. It is just a step away from the school of the future... and showing other schools how it can be done.
Don't construe the "colleges" as isolated; students would still have the opportunity to take courses within those other units that they felt [along with counselors] augmented their primary coursework.
The world is changing... perhaps it is time for high schools to change.