Why did this happen?
There is a thinking that to combine districts and close smaller schools to build a bigger one will be better. It’s seemed effective on paper. But, in real life experience, it is not. Especially when you consider the buildings and resources that go into it, all to create bigger inefficient bureaucracies.
“Crowded classroom conditions not only make it difficult for students to concentrate on their lessons, but inevitably limit the amount of time teachers can spend on innovative teaching methods such as cooperative learning and group work or, indeed on teaching anything beyond the barest minimum of required material. In addition, because teachers must constantly struggle simply to maintain order in an overcrowded classroom….” (Source: U.S. Dept. of Education)
What do we need to do?
We need to change our mindset to an attitude of what is best to the wellbeing of the students, for effective education and to foster an atmosphere of care and mutual respect…
What can parents do?
- Parents need to be more involved and give more input.
- Demand smaller class sizes and child safety.
- Demand better management of public monies.
What can Schools, and Districts do?
- We need to rethink budgeting and planning from perceived needs from various agendas to actual needs.
- Better manage their vocation, reform the mindset of bigger is better, it is not. The answer is leaner and meaner, as in reduced and efficient. This is smaller campuses, smaller classrooms and better teacher ratios with qualified aids and resources.
- Teachers need to be better trained and equipped, cared for and rewarded.
- Parents need to be better communicated to.
- Get rid of the cattle drive mentality expecting everyone to run in the same direction and tailor to individualized services and needs.
- Charter a new course that can be your key to success. Start or partner with small charter schools with campus under 200, and student-teacher ratios under 12 to 1. With 1 teacher and 1 aid per class and any additional specialists as needed. With current state funding at over $10,000 per student, this is very achievable.
- Larger campus can be re-engineered and broken up into smaller factions. By breakdown bigger campus into smaller sections, including lunch programs, with little interaction between them. And then larger gatherings can be used for such as assemblies and sporting events.
- Tailored curriculum like Smart Fox, so each student is working at their own level and best pace with biweekly and as needed tutoring. This will foster a better quality of education, make class time less stressful and encourage and equip the students far better and create a better future for all.
Let’s not forget what this is all about, educating students!
When we get away from the pressure cooker of overcrowding, we can effectively educate and support and inspire students to become their best potential. We will not be able to cease all problems, but we can create a healthier environment for wellbeing and academic success. Test scores will rise, instances like bullying will diminish significantly, school shootings will be a thing of the past (if we get a control o psychotropic prescription drugs and their mismanagement) and the security and happiness of students, teachers and parents will be back to an all-time high. Not sure? Then visit a small school or a charter school that is well run, then visit a mega school, you will see a stark contrast and there will be no need for more research and statistics, just a need for action!
Stat sources: Digest of Education Statistics. National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved 31 July 2015. U.S. Dept. of Education) https://nces.ed.gov/ https://www.census.gov http://www.educationalpolicy.org/ https://www.publicschoolreview.com/
Research on overcrowded schools: https://scholarworks.umass.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2583&context=dissertations_1 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/273124645_THE_IMPACT_OF_OVERCROWDED_CLASSROOM_ON_THE_ACADEMI http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0013916503035004007 https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0362331917300241
Dr. Richard Krejcir is an Author, Researcher, seasoned Special Education teacher and the Director of a nonprofit that does educational training in third-world countries. He is also a STEAM teacher and a father of a son with autism.