Treasure Your Small Schools
Choosing a school for your child is an important decision. So why choose a small school? In the article below based on the popular public report from KnowledgeWorks, small schools are praised as being places where students are more active and perform better academically.
Why Choose a Small School?
Less Violence, More Participation, Higher Grades
Studies have shown small schools can operate more flexibly and more responsively than large schools because there is less formal bureaucracy. In addition,
1) students and teachers in small schools know each other better
2) there are higher levels of teacher satisfaction
3) community members are more involved with the schools.
“There is less violence in small schools, less vandalism, a heightened sense of belonging, and better attendance,” the KnowledgeWorks report states. “Students earn higher grade point averages, and more participate in extracurricular activities.”
One of the most important characteristics of small schools is that their dropout rates tend to be lower than those for large schools. Besides having a profound effect on the lives of the students, this lower dropout rate has a profound effect on the cost-effectiveness of small versus large schools. While cost per student was higher at smaller high schools, researchers at New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy showed that the cost per graduate at the smaller schools was slightly lower than the per-graduate cost at larger schools.
Other researchers also have reported higher graduation rates in smaller schools, including those serving poor students, and higher percentages of graduates going on to post-secondary education.
“Large schools are expensive to individuals, their communities, and the nation because there are many hidden costs,” the report concludes. It urges communities and policymakers to “treasure their small schools” and protect them with sound policies and financial support.