Thursday, February 16, 2006

Selections from EducationNews.org - 16 Feb 2006

From EducationNews.Org I found the following articles:

Marty Solomon writes about a movement to get full-strength soft drinks out of the schools. He is happy that students in Kentucky will now only be able to have milk, fruit drinks, vegetable drinks, water, or drinks that carry less than 40 or less calories per serving. This took the state of Kentucky over four years to make this change. One of the great benefits of homeschooling is not having to deal with bureaucracies. If parents want their children to have a change in their diet, they can make the change that day.

The L.A. Daily News has another example of the problems with government bureaucracies. A new high school is being built. Already the costs for construction have climbed to $170 million, more than double the original plan. This 1,700 student high school will cost $100,000 per student. There is a lot of finger pointing and no seems to be at fault.

Sandra Stotsky wrote a column saying that the movement to make high schools smaller doesn't make sense, it is based on faulty data. She points out that there are some good high schools with four thousand students. We blogged about this move back in December after Jay Mathews wrote about huge schools in the Washington Post. Economists know that for many products there is economy in scaling up production and allowing people to specialize. Adam Smith wrote about this in his The Wealth of Nations. But there is also a point in which continuing to scale has diminishing returns. That is why we don't have factories of ten thousand workers; the complexity gets too hard to handle. My personal opinion is a high school with 5,000 students, in general, will have too much bureaucracy and perform poorly.

1 comment:

Principled Discovery said...

massive schools...that could be an interesting discussion. Mine was pretty big...just over 2,000, and it seemed quite big enough to me. Like a small city with all the same problems of traffic and crime.

I suppose the results would depend on what your goal was. Assembly line learing closely describes what goes on in a lot of our high schools, so throwing a few more on the conveyor belt really shouldn't disrupt the end product too much.

But the goal there is not any expression of individuality in the student. No special talents expressed and fine tuned.