ERIC Number: ED436327
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1999-Nov-5
Reference Count: N/A
If It Ain't Big, Don't Break It.
This speech is about respect for small things and suggests that schooling could benefit from the care and attention enabled by a smaller scale. Among the points made are that, yes, all children can learn, but that is no big deal. Schooling should contribute to their education, but schooling is far from being identical with education. Learning requires sharing, but in a society organized to restrict sharing quite stringently, the practices of schooling are likely to cultivate miseducation and, in fact, have been structured to do so. Whatever the case with social and economic structures, however, parents and communities enjoy a greater interest and stake in the education of their children than anyone else and will defend those interests ferociously. Educators can help them instead of putting barriers in their way. All too often, the most challenged part of the population is given the fewest educational resources. Studies in seven states show that increased size of schools and districts decreased achievement in impoverished communities but increased achievement in affluent communities. Thus, school consolidation conveniently benefits the children of the most powerful groups. As a related point, society's emphasis on economics has led to a lack of adults and adult attention in children's lives. Lack of care and attention is also related to anti-intellectualism--an emphasis on "what works" faster and cheaper rather than on the slow cultivation of intellect. (Contains 23 references.) (SV)
Descriptors: Anti Intellectualism, Efficiency, Elementary Secondary Education, Equal Education, Functional Literacy, Opinion Papers, Role of Education, Rural Education, School Size, Small Schools
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Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Keynote address at the Fall Forum of the College of Human Resources & Education, West Virginia University (Morgantown, WV, November 5, 1999).