Boston — Most public schools and a few private schools are too large. The environment or ethos of a school is one of the most important factors which determines success for individual pupils within a school.
And large, crowded buildings where administrators are one set of people, teachers another set, and pupils yet another set cannot sustain supportive, warm , caring environments.
Which is worse: a 10-pupil or a 1,000-pupil school? It's the latter, not the former, which doesn't work.
Nation after nation has tried to make large public schools efficient and high quality at the same time, and they have all failed. So much so that it really would be better to have 10 pupils (that's too small, of course) than to have 1, 000 in one school.
Most schools should have at least 100 pupils; but none should have more than 600. Probably all primary and elementary schools should have no more than 300 pupils.
It will take considerable rethinking on the part of school trustees and administrators to plan for smallscale schools where quality (not quantity) is the key.
But what will make this rethinking task a delight instead of a chore is the fact that a 300-pupil school can be its own community and the adults and pupils in such a school can work out their plans together.
The head teacher in a 300-pupil school is certainly not only able to know every teacher and pupil by name, but to have some notion of each one's special needs and abilities.
Each teacher in a 300-pupil school is able to know every other teacher and most of the pupils.
And the pupils in a school this size not only know each other, but are able to develop working relationships with all the adults who are there.
Next week: Filling empty classroom