All a Board?
The American school system has many problems. Schools are underfunded to the point where paper usage is regulated to extremes. The large number of teachers needed for every school requires the hiring of subpar teachers to be able to get classes to the largest manageable size. Some children are abused at home which, according to the governor of Georgia’s fact sheet on child abuse, makes them twenty-five times as likely to repeat a grade. Rural schools have less access to technology than urban ones. These problems could be fixed with a radical shift in public schools. Replace these schools with public boarding schools.
How I envision this idea of boarding schools is that not every county gets a boarding school. Each school should support a multiple county area ideally including a city. This cuts down on several things. There are fewer separate districts since there is only one school covering what would have been multiple school districts. This is less money to be spent on multiple administrators for smaller areas where there may be only two schools. By combining these school districts the money that each district received can be pooled together for one or two boarding schools rather than separated between twenty. There would be fewer teachers but the cutback here is not as drastic as one would think. This allows schools to have higher standards when hiring teachers and school administrators as well.
By having two or so large boarding schools sharing a much larger amount of funding it would allow each school able to provide more classes and subjects than smaller schools in rural areas were able to provide. This creates a more equal learning environment for students giving more students a better chance in their education. By basing these schools in mainly urban counties would allow schools easier and cheaper access to current technology. According to Anne Duncan at the National Rural Education summit one third of students in the United States are in rural areas and half of our schools are rural. With such a large number of students whose school districts that can’t offer a diverse and varied education may miss their true passion or calling in life or may struggle with technology later in their careers.
Children who are abused have been found to struggle in school. By having children go to boarding schools it helps solve the problem with child abuse by getting them out of bad situations at home and into a safer environment. Some students who live in poverty are not able to have regular meals at home due to financial issues. A study from the national KIDS COUNT Program found that depending by state 12% to 24% of students’ families have trouble affording food. Studies have shown that students that are not well nourished do not perform as well at school compared to those that are. By attending boarding school they would be able to have three meals a day. According to tabs.org, boarding school students are more independent and 78% of boarding school graduates say they were prepared for college life as compared to 23% of normal public school students. The transfer to college and needing to be independent is what causes many students to drop out of college. If the trend is correct then if we institute the public boarding school plan then college retention rates would drastically improve.
One problem with this idea is that these boarding schools would have to be built as every school cannot serve every student. This would cost a huge amount of money. The answer to this is actually quite simple. When we only need one or two schools total then what do we do with the other eighteen to thirty schools? The land could be sold for a large amount of money to help expand the future campus and help pay for it. Another criticism of this idea is from parents who do not want their child to go away at such a young age. The answer to this is mostly based around the fact that while it is a boarding school the students are not too far away from their parents. Parents would only be about thirty minutes to an hour at most away from their children. Busses would be able to send children home to their parents on weekends and parents would be allowed to visit.
I believe that public boarding schools are an answer to several problems in today’s education system. The idea isn’t perfect but I think it is a step in the right direction for our education system.