Philadelphia school officials today gave the School Reform Commission an outline of plans for new and smaller city high schools.
The School District wants to reduce the size of its poorly performing neighborhood high schools in favor of smaller campuses that have proven more successful in urban areas.
Currently, officials said 15 such schools are in progress with 13 more slated in coming years.
In addition, officials said they will more magnet schools for gifted students and those interested in specialized academic subject areas.
I am of a few minds about this. As someone who has experienced tiny schools (as in 100 people total, k through 8) as well as some big ones (2000 plus person high school), I have seen both sides of the spectrum. But frankly, while I liked the small school, I don't think that in of itself makes for a good school. I would be more interested in what the class size is at those schools. You can have a high school with only 500 people, but if there is one teacher for 33 kids, as is the Philly High School norm, I don't know how much of an impact it will have.
People always say that high-rise public housing causes problems, and to a certain extent that is true. But, at the same time, if you simply demolished a high-rise, and split the people up into two or three communities, would all the problems be solved? I don't think so, because you are not tackling things like poverty, crime, access to jobs, etc. Similarly, if you think that simply splitting schools up makes them better without attacking the core problem, I don't know that you will see much improvement.
That said, I don't know a whole hell of a lot about education. Anyone out there with more experience/knowledge have any thoughts?