NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Report Claims Smaller, Shared Schools Hold Promise

September 10, 2001

A University of Minnesota researcher is promoting the concept of smaller elementary and secondary schools -- as well as having schools share facilities with other organizations. Joe Nathan, director of the Humphrey Institute of Public Policy's Center for School Change, claims smaller schools can, on average, provide a safer place for students, as well as a more positive, challenging environment.

  • As examples of schools which share facilities, Nathan cites a public school located in a Minnesota shopping mall -- which he contends allows students to study marketing, advertising and other business strategies.
  • Then there's a Brooklyn, N.Y., school which shares space with a variety of community development and service programs.
  • Or the Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center, which has teamed up with South Mountain Community College in Phoenix.
  • Nathan contends that schools that share facilities can offer students broader learning opportunities and access to a fuller, often better range of programs and services.

As for smaller schools, studies show achievement is higher, graduation rates increase and discipline problems decline as schools are downsized, he reports.

Source: Tamara Henry, "Schools Start Thinking Outside the Huge Box," USA Today, September 10, 2001.


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