The One-Room Schoolhouse

In order to understand the world of MicroSchools, it’s important to understand why we have the system we have.  Multi-age, one-room schoolhouses were the norm for generations, then the Industrial Age brought with it a more “efficient” model based on preparing kids for a job, as opposed to the “3 Rs.”

If literacy levels are any indication, this worked well for quite a while (though these figures were improving drastically well before public education became the rule and not the exception). But to say the least, the “factory model” of education, with a teacher for every grade and “standardization” has had diminishing returns over the past generation. The same resource (Department of Education) shows that the number of adults who are at a “Below Basic Prose” literacy level is actually around 14%.

This is not to say that the people working at improving the literacy of our youth are not giving it their all and do not have noble intentions; but simply that the modern age calls for something different. As if to prove the point, given the singular focus of modern public education is “college preparedness” it may be (or might not be) surprising to learn that the current crop entering the workforce are actually less educated than their Baby Boomer counterparts leaving it.

From NPR Ed.NPR-Ed:

For much of the 20th century, schools got bigger, not smaller. And there were good reasons for it, like reducing costs and making greater use of diverse teacher expertise.

But now, software and Internet connectivity are nudging the cost of a broader, high-quality curriculum toward zero. You don’t necessarily need a dedicated Swahili teacher to teach Swahili. Candler and others believe the costs of large schools are starting to outweigh their benefits.

It is apparent to most parents that many children are not being served by the current model, and that it is time for new options which maximize the flexibility of a student’s path through school, and that the Industrial Age model is not necessarily the best choice for the Information Age.

We’re glad to be part of it.

For more information, go to: IndED At a Glance

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