Why Small High Schools Are Best

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Catastrophic Consolidation
Luke Leonard
English 201
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

Abstract
My topic of research is high school consolidation. There is a lot of pressure on small schools, from governmental bodies and other influences, to consolidate into larger schools. In my paper I discuss the downfalls of consolidation, and talk about many benefits that small schools offer. Small schools average better test scores, a lower dropout rate, and a higher rate of extra-curricular activity participation. Studies also show that students who participate in extra-curricular activities become more successful academically and socially. Also, it’s been reported that large schools have a higher rate of violence and crime, and many studies propose that the ideal school size is under 400 students. Another downfall of high school consolidation is the fact that when high schools consolidate communities that no longer have schools tend to die off. Some large school advocates claim that small schools should consolidate for monetary reasons, but due to all the benefits that small schools offer, I disagree. There are many areas of the U.S. government spending that could easily be cut to make room for an increase in education spending. Military and defense spending is particularly high, and could easily spare some cuts. Another claim made by consolidation advocates is that a small drop in test scores is not enough incentive to pay for small schools to continue. To the possible surprise of such advocates, the United States is ranked between 14th and 25th worldwide in education , and cannot afford any more declines in its education system. Lastly, it’s clear to even those who pressure for consolidation that small schools offer better learning environments. While pushing for consolidation, the Illinois state government also helps fund a project to break up large inner-city schools in order to increase learning. It’s clear to all involved that small schools are more effective, and consolidation should not be considered as an option.

Education is a right, not a privilege, granted to every child in America, and the majority of America’s youth attend public high schools. Currently there is a disturbance in our country’s education system. Many bodies of government, the Illinois state government for example, are pushing for small schools to consolidate and form a singular large school. Despite mounting pressures, such consolidation would be detrimental to the youth of this country because small schools are proven to be more effective in nearly every way. I’d like to offer a bit of background to why this is an important topic to me, and why I felt the urge to research and report my findings. I graduated from a high school with an enrollment of approximately 120 students, and I have always been very curious about small school issues. My former high school is currently considering the consolidation option, and I feel it my duty as an alumni to do my research and take a stance on this issue. Unlike many other arguments, I recognize that both sides of this argument have valid points, which only deepens my desire to find out more. Another reason that I chose this topic is because I feel like I did small schools a big injustice in the past. My senior year, I wrote a somewhat biased newspaper article on why the community should consider the consolidation possibility. At the time, I felt that the teachers at my school were under qualified, that the courses were over simplified, and that the students didn’t have enough extra-curricular and duel credit options. I was jealous that students from other schools could graduate with hours of college credit, and take AP classes to further their education. However, in hindsight, I cherish everything about my old high school, and realize that the school itself isn’t to blame for our lack of programs. I view this paper as a chance to become more informed on the topic, balance the scales from a...
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