Pushing Smaller Schools On Bogan & Others

A teacher at Bogan emailed me about the pressure at her school and others to implement the Smaller Learning Communities model — what do you think? 

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“We are very concerned here at Bogan High about the direction our principal is steering us in. There is a big push to implement “Small Learning Communities” here. This would require block scheduling, looping, more planning time, meeting with a “caseload” of ten students a week, the teaching of a new subject each year, and the division of the school into 12 “teams” which would limit student mobility for electives like AP classes, art, music, etc.
The woman in charge of SLCs for CPS (she is from Kansas City, Kansas… I don’t recall her name) is making a strong push for the program as is our principal. She has admitted that it does nothing to improve academic success. In addition, the schools partaking in SLC are not models of success: Fenger, Gage, Corliss, Hyde Park, Crane, Robeson, Clemente, CVS, etc. CPS claims these schools have good attendance, fewer discipline problems, and less violence but these are the worst high schools in the city.
It is the belief of teachers that the main thrust for this unproven program is money. The grant proposal covers 4 schools for 5 years at $10 million. An investigation of SLCs would be beneficial as they do not appear to be successful, yet they are pursued with vigor because money (which students and teachers will never see) is attached. I have no other explanation why an unproven model used in statisically inferior schools is being adopted by ours.”

Is CPS pushing SLCs?  Is this a bad thing?  How is it working at your school? Are there better options under SIG that Bogan could consider — also with money?


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  • Small Learning Communities and Small Schools are different, however both say the things they improve on better than regular schools are: 1. good attendance 2. fewer discipline problems, less violence and greater interpersonal involvement with the students (students feel good about the school). Test scores did not increase and that is why Bill Gates stopped funding small schools and that is why CPS is eliminating all small schools!

  • The front page of today's NYTimes has a great article disproving te necessity of small schools or small learning communities. The 4,000+ minority, low income, school in Mass. had a principal willing to listen to his teachers, work with the teacher's union, and experience major success in improving student performance. Read it.

  • In reply to jessicasmith:

    good catch, jagi --
    here's the link to the story about the school


  • In reply to jessicasmith:

    They were dumping the kids that would bring down stats at the new Phillips turnaround before they even opened the doors. I'm sure they are going to look great by year's end as well.

  • In reply to jessicasmith:

    Not "dumping"...it's called "counseling out".

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