Consolidation: What Is It Good For?


Image“…Consolidation robs communities of important assets: their children and their schools. Consolidation may seem efficient based on pupil-to-teacher ratios, costs per pupil, and the promise of improved curriculum and higher test scores. But it is hardly efficient, given the costs of transportation and the time children spend away from the school and their families.


School and community leaders who promote consolidation may think they have the well-being of children in mind, but their emphasis on per-unit cost treats students as if they are assembly-line products and not children with differing needs, personalities, and dreams.


Rural schools have provided their communities with doctors, lawyers, ministers, merchants, farmers, and laborers for generations. The notion of schools at the center of rural communities is hardly new. Nor is the idea of child-centered education….”







4 responses to “Consolidation: What Is It Good For?

  1. It is definitely not student centered. i am beside myself watching things unfold. Standards Based College/Career readiness, what a crock. You should have seen the huge waste of paper that my child received for a report card. The poor teachers, what a colossal waste of paper and time. Just give me one grade, not these foolish numbers that mean absolutely nothing. it is unbelievable to me that administrators will not think outside the box. Why do we want to standardize our kids? They are all special individuals with unique abilities and talents? Do we want to develop this? Do not assume that all kids want to go to a four year school, or to college at all. They need to be offered general courses, vocational courses, business, college, and technology courses. Instead we are more worried about common core, standards, college and career readiness. Lets start thinking outside the box and meeting individual kids needs, challenging those that need it and helping those who need it.
    I am tired of administration not listening to parents. They hear us, but for whatever reason, they do not care. A great example of this is science. My child has not learned a whole lot this year, and the science fair was so poor, not due to the freshman, but a lack of direction and organization from the teacher. Our kids deserve to be challenged in science and have a great program. Why wouldn’t administration want this for our students? The question deserves an answer. The students are not happy with this, I hear a lot of complaining.
    Another issue is nit picking these kids. Take care of the problems, stop creating them. Stop holding things against the kids who are outspoken.
    Katahdin can be a great school again, it is time for the parents to get involved and outspoken in their children’s education. Time for thinking outside the foolish standards. No more dumbing our kids education down.
    On a positive note, I would like to thank all the great and dedicated teachers at Katahdin, the ones that are positive role models and have made this year better for the students.


  2. Standards-Based is worse than a “crock”. Rae Bates column in a recent edition of the Houlton Pioneer was the first time I had seen the term “learner centered” wedged in next to “Standards Based” with a sort of Orwellian composition crowbar — it is ANYTHING but. .. The Common Core is NOT for four-year colleges. It’s own author was quoted, “Not for STEM, and not even for selective colleges….” “…colleges most kids go to but not what most parents aspire to”. Educators brought in after they were written rejected the standards….

    Though much of this stinky, steaming pile of “reformy stuff” has flowed downhill from the State, and even the Federal government (both have sold their soul to Bill Gates – who, by the way rejects Common Core for High Tech High, and his own children) our own Administration has leveraged it; it’s costs, anyway, that did not have to occur all at once, to promote consolidation. Never let a good crisis go to waste, eh?

    The Maine DOE Website claims there are no costs at all in the switch to standards based, so they see no need to help with them. Even without the change, the LePage administration has moved aggressively to shift costs from the state onto property taxpayers.

    Parents have to take more control, and a Board used to dismissing them will have to develop a more respectful attitude toward them. It is harder when the Board is serving completely different interests; half of them are serving other families, communities and schools with claims on your tax money. Parents everywhere are finding their influence diluted by the dissolution of their local Board, but what about setting up a committee for each school? May help while communities wrestle with withdrawal?

    I am very concerned about kids being punished for speaking out about how they feel. We are supposed to be educating them to take their place in a democratic society, after all. I have told students that the best way to help is to get the best education they possibly can; work with the wonderful teachers they have and make it happen. But we, are here to listen, learn and advocate whenever you need us. Our student authors remain our most-read posts, though many have been published since. This is our fight, so please advise them that they should speak out here, in this safe space or with us personally. We can preserve their anonymity; do our job so they can do theirs.


  3. Students should be able to speak out. Certain adults need to put on their big boy pants and instead of holding it against these kids and treating them poorly, listen to what they are saying, not how they are saying it. Frustration builds when kids feel they are not being listened to and disrespected in the process. Administration stop trying to change and control so much. You just want to divert our eyes from the bigger problem here, their education. I have a thought. Treat others as you would like to be treated not how they treat you. Who are the adults?!


    • You are absolutely right! Kids SHOULD feel free and safe to speak their minds, and adults entrusted with their care and education SHOULD not only respect their feelings but also nurture their civic education.

      It is up to us, as parents, to create, and sadly, DEMAND such an environment for them. For students who want to be heard but, for whatever reason, would rather not speak publicly (that can be daunting for adults as well) can have their voices heard through us.

      “The secret to education lies in respecting the pupil.” Ralph Waldo Emerson


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