Storefront Schools

Here’s a novel Idea. Make schools (I’m talking about K-12 here) smaller. They would be easier to control. Better student to teacher ratio. Better security. And closer to home. They would also better reflect the community that surrounds them. We need more schools. The ones we have are usually overcrowded by the time they are built, and they cost millions before they even open their doors. Meanwhile there are lots of empty storefronts in most every large metropolitan city. Excellent space going to waste.  Now, most people will think I am either very naive or quite mad to even suggest this but to those people I say, “what do you suggest?”  More of the status quo? And how is that working? A lot of schoolwork is done online anyway. Or at least it could be. What would it matter if the next classroom is down the hall or down the street? (Of couse I am not suggesting that kids travel from one storefront to another during a schoolday.) I could go into all the advantages of smaller schools but I don’t think I really need to. It would take much less space to list the advantages of Large Overcrowded Schools, wouldn’t it? Now I am not suggesting that we bulldoze the schools that already exist but as cities expand, it is an option. The school that I went to had six “portables” behind the school where practically everyone took at least one class. They each had their own A/C and heat system, plumbing and electricity and porches (and yet they were ‘portable’?)  They were practically freestanding storefronts anyway, And this was in a rather small suburb of Detroit. More than twenty years ago. OK a lot more. And to be honest, having part of your Jr. High that was “portable” really did not gender a lot of confidence in a teenagers mushy mind.

It’s sort of a modern day “Little Red Schoolhouse”. The average storefront could hold 2-3 classes of about 15 kids each or fewer kids in more classes. You could put a couple of different grades in each one and have a few teachers and an administrator in each. Have an overseer that covers a dozen or so schools and a regional “Principal” that oversees a district. As you can probably tell by now I have no experience in the school system except as a pupil, but I think even the most cynical of you can see what I am talking about. I am sure that you cynics can see many problems with a system like this. After all isn’t that what cynics do? But problems can be overcome and most solutions to problems usually bring their own set of problems anyway. It’s just an Idea.

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