01/04/10 — Neighborhoods: Maybe Duplin parents -- and others -- have key to education success

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Neighborhoods: Maybe Duplin parents -- and others -- have key to education success

There will be more talk later, as the debate continues over the plan to consolidate two of Duplin County's high schools rages on.

But those who are fighting the effort to unite North Duplin and James Kenan high schools brought up an interesting argument this week -- and one that is worth pondering.

They say the size of a school matters -- especially when it comes to making sure that as many children as possible graduate. And they say the community matters, too.

It is common sense, really. In a small school, where teachers have more contact with students, and parents are neighbors, there are more eyes on the young people who are in the school system, more chances for a student who needs help or more supervision to find it.

So, if a small school is successful, maybe the principle of smaller rather than behemoth schools might be an idea worth considering.

There are downsides, of course, smaller schools are expensive and staffing them when there is already a teacher shortage might be a challenge. But the idea is surely one that might be worth a look as we try to figure out how to turn around schools that are battling lower graduation rates and are struggling to overcome students' adult examples and their home lives.

This course will require more, not less, money, and the resources required might be an insurmountable challenge, but it is an interesting idea that is worth discussing.

It seems like we have discussed everything else when it comes to improving education. Maybe this is the magic bullet we have been looking for.

Published in Editorials on January 4, 2010 10:28 AM