High Schools on a Human Scale: How Small Schools Can Transform American Education

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Beacon Press, 2003 - Education - 141 pages
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The basic blueprint of American high schools hasn't changed in a century, and we are paying a heavy price. Anonymous, enormous, and resistant to change, huge American high schools are incapable of educating all children to high levels today, as dropout rates and remedial courses in college make increasingly clear.

High Schools on a Human Scale shows the huge power of small schools, perhaps the nation's fastest- growing reform idea. Tom Toch takes us inside four very different small schools around the country-from an entrepreneur's high-tech charter school in San Diego to a school formed out the of the breakup of a huge public high school in Manhattan. All are small enough so that every student is known well by adults, and the results are remarkable. Together they show the proven virtues of small schools-safety, community, and high achievement.

This book is sponsored in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's $40 million effort to support small schools nationwide.

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Page 2 - This commission, therefore, regards the following as the main objectives of education: 1. Health. 2. Command of fundamental processes. 3. Worthy home membership. 4. Vocation. 5. Citizenship. 6. Worthy use of leisure. 7. Ethical character.
Page 4 - The enrollment of many public high schools is too small to allow a diversified curriculum except at exorbitant expense. The prevalence of such high schools— those with graduating classes of less than 'one hundred students— constitutes one of the serious obstacles to good secondary education throughout most of the United States.
Page 10 - For a majority of students, particularly African American and Hispanic students and those from disadvantaged families, a large, comprehensive high school is an educational dead end, where low expectations and tracking swell enrollments in courses like "introduction to consumer math" instead of geometry, algebra, and trigonometry.
Page 1 - The problem is that comprehensive high schools were created to do something quite different from what we want, and need, high schools to do today.
Page 5 - The new economy requires a new and different priority: that nearly every student be educated well enough to enter college, a notion that the founders of the comprehensive high school simply didn't contemplate.
Page 7 - The anonymity that pervades many public high schools saps students' motivation to learn and teachers
Page 11 - Theodore Sizer, a former dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, in Horace's Compromise, a study of life in comprehensive high schools.
Page 1 - The basic blueprint of the nation's high schools hasn't changed significantly since the rise of the "comprehensive" high school nearly a century ago.

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About the author (2003)

Thomas Toch is writer-in-residence at the National Center on Education and the Economy in Washington, D.C.

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