Filename Spectator re closing small schools (Lexar)
Date: 26 May 13
From: Frank Gue, 905 634 9538
Re: “Closing small schools” Saturday’s Spec 249 words
Mr. Templeman makes a strong case for small schools. Some examples support him, both anecdotally and statistically.
The Chief Justice of Canada, Right Hon. Beverly McLachlin, got her primary and secondary schooling in a four-room wooden school house in the foothills village of Pincher Creek, Alberta. Among her teachers was my sister Julia, who started there at the princely salary of nearly $1,000 per year.
I was fortunate to have had my primary education at Queen Alex in Edmonton, under the redoubtable W.S. Fleming. It housed about 400, each of whom he knew by name. I complained that my group had an assignment of a subject we hadn’t studied. Why us? I asked. Because you can, he replied. Through a long life I have been grateful that my education under Mr. Fleming was far better than most. I know how to use the verb “to be”, where the East Indies are, and how to do arithmetic in my head.
Re small schools: In a sample of 25 Burlington schools, I divided each school’s EQAO results by its costs. I found that results per tax dollar rose very noticeably up to a school population of about 550 to 650 and fell quite sharply thereafter. Schools of 1,000 did markedly less well.
This says nothing about big-school social disadvantages like bullying and time wasted busing kids to them. These additional problems are serious and well documented.
There is good evidence that small schools should be encouraged, not closed.