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Back to Dec. Ed Reporter

Education Reporter
NUMBER 227 THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS DECEMBER 2004

Thinking Small About High School
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School districts across the nation are thinking small in an effort to combat high dropout rates, falling test scores and low attendance.

With help from the federal government and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, at least 41 states are experimenting with schools of no more than 400 students. Some urban districts have converted to all small high schools. Los Angeles in October became the latest big-city school district to join the trend by announcing plans to break all its high schools into smaller units of 350 to 500 students.

Small schools may be new or created by subdividing large high schools. The students in each section stay together for four years, with the same group of teachers.

The Gates Foundation has made $745 million in grants for small schools over the past decade. The federal government operates a $142 million grant program for subdividing larger high schools. Some research has shown that smaller schools can produce higher graduation rates, lower dropout levels and more students attending college. (Associated Press, 10-11-04)


 
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