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?
“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?