ERIC Number: EJ790924
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-May
Reference Count: 24
Small Schools: Size or Community?
Strike, Kenneth A.
American Journal of Education, v114 n3 p169-190 May 2008
Small schools are not just about size. They are also about authentic instruction, portfolio evaluation, and a thematic curriculum. Their agendas overlap with that of charter schools. They have an uncomfortable and sometimes adversarial relationship with standards, accountability, and the No Child Left Behind Act. They have migrated from their beginnings in Barker and Gump's (1964) work on rural schools to become a significant factor in urban school reform. They face two major hurdles. The first is scaling up. Small reform movements can survive on exemptions from prevailing policy. Large reform movements need institutional change. The second is that as an enterprise becomes popular it runs the risks of co-option and confusion. I argue that small school advocates need to work hard to maintain clarity about what is central to the movement. And I suggest that what should be central is an emphasis on creating community, not school size per se. [A version of this article was presented in October 2006 at a conference entitled "Values and Evidence in Educational Research," sponsored by the Spencer Foundation.]
Descriptors: Urban Schools, Small Schools, Rural Schools, Charter Schools, School Restructuring, Federal Legislation, School Size, Organizational Change, Educational Change, Institutional Mission, Institutional Characteristics
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: No Child Left Behind Act 2001