Small Is Beautiful


um Charlie salvo pelo terrorismo.

charles

 

Reunidos no Templo os iaveístas tremeram com a visão de Iavé lá por detrás dos quintais:  “Estamos fecundados, o Lucicrat é o mínimo dos ínfimos, não cruza a pernoca roliça como Marilulu, nem alça o palito como Pernalçada!”

Mas só lhes ocorreu que Iavé é grande, talvez ainda maior do que enorme, aquela cena tipo bué da bigue.

E decidiram tornar-se iaveenses, antes que Marilulu cantasse a uma cobra e a outra a confundisse com um poste e fizesse já ali – evitando ir ao serrado.

 

Isto já foi estudado e nós decidimos – terá sido mesmo a troika ou apenas a preguiça em inverter a asneira socrática? – voltar ao caminho que outros abandonaram.

Downsizing and the School-Within-a-School Model

A great deal of research suggests that smaller schools contribute to student achievement, attainment, and sense of well-being (Cotton, 1996a; Fowler, 1995; Howley, 1994; Howley & Bickel, 2000; Lee & Smith, 1995; Lee, Smith, & Croninger, 1995; Rutter, 1988). To capture some of the benefits of small-scale schooling, educators are increasingly looking for ways to downsize, including dividing large schools into subschools or subunits. This approach is especially useful given the large number of schools that have been built recently based on the assumption that “bigger is better.” The literature on school downsizing has been inconsistent in its descriptions of how large schools are divided into subunits. The most precise definition of a school-within-a-school model comes from Mary Anne Raywid (1995): 

A school-within-a-school is a separate and autonomous unit formally authorized by the board of education and/or superintendent. It plans and runs its own program, has its own staff and students, and receives its own separate budget. Although it must negotiate the use of common space (gym, auditorium, playground) with a host school, and defer to the building principal on matters of safety and building operation, the school-within-a-school reports to a district official instead of being responsible to the building principal. Both its teachers and students are affiliated with the school-within-a-school as a matter of choice (p. 21). 

Large schools have implemented a myriad of programs to downsize or downscale: house plans, minischools, learning communities, clusters, charters, and schools-within-schools. Each model differs from the others on a range of factors, including how separate the subunit is from the larger institution and how much autonomy it receives to manage its own education program.

Já foi estudado… até pelo sector privado e naqueles países com tradições liberais e tudo… Não há troika que possa contrariar as evidências que destruíram os mitos dos anos 80, onde muita gente parece ter parado…

School Size Matters

Researchers from the Bank Street School of Educationreport that small schools create conditions which encourage learning. The researchers studied eight new small schools in Chicago. Their report makes compelling reading and displays a consistently high standard of fact-finding and conclusions.

Small Beginnings

Most private schools are small, typically in the 300-400 student range. That’s because many schools were founded by educators and parents who sought to give their children the kind of individual attention which was not available in the public schools. Most schools started without huge sums of money. So the beginnings were modest, usually with two or three grades which were gradually added on as time went on and resources permitted. The critical component in the educational philosophy of those pioneering private schools was individual attention. It is a philosophy which is squarely rooted in classical Graeco-Roman educational tenets.

Small Class Sizes

Most private schools typically have small classes of 10-15 students. Small schools and small classes where teachers and students know each other well seem to encourage learning. It’s much easier to find out how a child learns and what makes him tick academically and in every other way when you can get to know him. Another advantage is that small classes permit more academic ground to be covered. The child is exposed to more information and learns more because he receives more individual attention.

Now you can counter by observing that private schools are able to maintain low student to teacher ratios because they are, by their very nature, selective. True. But so are the new small schools: the charter or magnet schools. A child has to meet certain minimum requirements in order to attend. Often the competition is very stiff.

Big Is Not Better

Public schools with populations of 2000-3000 students were built on the premise that their large size allowed economies of all kinds. They were theoretically more efficient at delivering the educational product. The problem is that these large schools are too big. Their students become numbers, not individuals. Children fall through the cracks and their needs, both academic and personal, fail to be addressed. They feel even more isolated, frustrated and hopeless. Discipline problems escalate. Security becomes a serious issue. Teachers end up becoming nothing more than traffic cops. Quality of instruction deteriorates. The vast majority of these students simply do not have a chance to achieve their fullest potential.

Small size in education is indeed a good thing.

… que assolou tanto as construções como a própria estrutura da rede escolar.

Se a Parque Escolar foi um projecto de gigantismo luxuoso que acabou por deixar um país a três velocidades em matéria de escolas (as intervencionadas, as não intervencionadas que estão em estado razoável e as outras que ficarão a cair), a crescente macrocefalia da rede escolar vai deixar o país numa situação ainda mais assimétrica, neste aspecto, do que há um século.

A solução para um caso não pode ser substituir a Parque Escolar por uma empresa completamente privada, com o Estado a perder a gestão directa dos estabelecimentos escolares. Só um cristão-novo do neoliberalismo pode defender uma solução que já deu péssimos resultados em outros países.

A solução para o outro não pode(ria) ser o acentuar de um processo que fará a rede escolar pública parecer uma teia larga similar (ressalvando a natureza da comparação) àquela rede de super-esquadras dos tempos do Dias Loureiro no MAI que se mostrou ser um erro imenso.

A solução deveria ter sido, desde o início, humanizar as escolas e a rede escolar, tanto na sua dimensão como na sua distribuição pelo país, que são reconhecidamente factores decisivos para a construção de um sucesso escolar sólido.

Como se sabe há muito, pois isto são quase tudo leituras com uma década, quando eu comecei a bisbilhotar o assunto:

Downsizing Schools in Big Cities

Smaller, Safer, Saner, Successful Schools

Jack and the Giant School

Implementing Small Learning Communities in Five Boston High Schools

New Small Learning Communities: Findings From Recent Literature

School Size and its Relationship to Achievement and Behavior

Na ilha do Corvo.

Recolha do Calimero Sousa.

Então não é que a dimensão das escolas é de um disparate tal que aquilo só pode dar um enorme insucesso? Já sei… são pequenas porque a demografia assim o obriga a ser… O que me faz lembrar um pouco… mmmmm…. estou aqui a esforçar-me…. será que é o interior de Portugal?

Pois, mas eles por lá preferem equipar as escolas pequenas e mantê-las junto das comunidades do que deslocar a petizada toda para os grandes centros…

São tão, tão, tão retrógrados…

Aqui.

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