ERIC Number: ED370747
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1992
Reference Count: N/A
Small Districts, Big Problems: Making School Everybody's House.
Schmuck, Richard A.; Schmuck, Patricia A.
During a 6-month odyssey over America's back roads, 80 schools in 25 small school districts in 21 states were visited, in hopes of finding effective schools where smallness facilitated participation by all. District size ranged from 450 to 2,000 students. Data collection included observation of classes and meetings; group interviews of classes; and individual interviews of superintendents, principals, board of education members, teachers, students, and other community members. Each school was at the center of the life of its community, engaging virtually everyone as it provided education, entertainment, social life, and community identity. Most of the towns visited were in deep economic trouble, and most school districts were struggling with a tight budget and an increasingly needy student population. Although economic circumstances were dire, the biggest problems found in small districts were social-emotional. Instead of schools where small class size promoted faculty cooperation and student involvement, the schools visited were often regimented, authoritarian, and filled with bored students and overworked, frustrated teachers. There were few signs of teacher collaboration, "whole-person" interpersonal relationships, democratic participation by teachers or students, or cooperative learning in the classroom. Chapters portray, and detail findings on, students, teachers, principals, superintendents, and school board members. The final chapter presents a school "blueprint" that focuses on transactional communication, polyarchic influence, and respect for the individual, and that outlines the effort needed from each group of stakeholders. Contains an index. (SV)
Descriptors: Administrator Attitudes, Educational Administration, Educational Environment, Educational Practices, Elementary Secondary Education, Financial Problems, Interviews, Participative Decision Making, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, School Districts, Small Schools, Student Attitudes, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Student Relationship
Corwin Press, Inc., 2455 Teller Rd., Newbury Park, CA 91320 ($38.95, ISBN-0-8039-6025-5--hardcover; $18.95, ISBN-0-8039-6026-3--paperback; 2-9 copies, 10 percent discount; 10-99 copies, 20 percent discount).
Publication Type: Books; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Small School Districts