July 25, 2012 —
The same argument can be made for any of the service or student organization bodies like band, Key Club, and class officers. All high schools had those clubs each with its own officers. The opportunity to develop leadership skills has vanished for most kids.
Parental apathy tracks that of the students in large schools. On some PTA Open House Nights in Fayette County, I would have ten parents visit. In small schools that were the center of the community, parents were more likely to attend because they and their children had a sense of ownership in the school.
We waste billions of dollars on busing as a means of social engineering that has produced a lot of turmoil. More socioeconomic homogeneity among students in small schools resulted in less interclass strife.
The rationale for bigger schools was to provide more opportunities, especially in better-equipped science labs and so on. Considering the poor standing of science education in this country, that clearly has not happened. Schools are still lacking in sufficient equipment to teach lab based classes and most science teachers do not have the training or desire to teach lab-based classes.
The educational world has begun to admit its mistake. A recent trend is the idea of smaller learning communities to simulate the small school in mega schools. New studies have suggested that high schools have no more than 700-900 total enrollment.
The worldwide web can alter the learning environment in a way that nullifies the need for large school. The calculus teacher at Lafayette provided an excellent course to students in three high schools using technology.
But the disappearance of the small schools is robbing Kentucky of a piece of its educational history. In an attempt to counter that, I am trying to collect information from the last generation of the people who attended those schools. I am asking anyone who is so inclined to contact me with information about your high school. Specifically, I would like to know the following: