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Where Learning is Involved Smaller Schools are Better

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By The Grit Magazine Editors | Mar 1, 2007

Learn why smaller schools are better for student learning.

A new report from the Rural School and Community Trust supports the theory that smaller schools are better able to educate students for less money and with greater results than do larger schools.

The Hobbit Effect: Why Small Works in Public Schools was written by Lorna Jimerson, who offers her 10 research-based reasons for why small schools work better:

  • More students participate in extracurricular activities, and that participation is directly linked to academic success.
  • Small schools are safer.
  • Students feel as if they belong to the larger group.
  • Class size is conducive to individualized instruction and more attention from teachers.
  • Teachers have an easier time implementing better teaching methods.
  • Teachers feel better about their work and the results of their work.
  • Classes of mixed-ability students avoid the stigma some students feel, which raises the student’s own expectations.
  • Classes that include more than one age group help with personal learning as well as encouraging more positive social interactions.
  • Less bureaucracy helps smaller districts.
  • More students graduating to new schools help alleviate many transitional problems.

The report goes into detail on each point, and it can be found on the website for the Rural School and Community Trust, www.RuralEdu.org/HobbitEffect.

— information from the Center for Rural Affairs,www.CFRA.org.

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