Urban Planners Forgot Schools

Economist Barbara Byrne Denham argues that the greatest flaw in New York City's urban planning over the past decade was neglecting to allocate enough room for schools.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012 08:00 EST | 8
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11/15/2012 3:39:09 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Warehousing Students
I wish I could say I was shocked by this report. But education in the U.S. has become such a low priority that schools seem to do little more than warehouse kids.  When more classroom space is needed, many schools just close the music, art, gym, and shop classes to save a buck.  If things get really bad, they'll ship in the portables.  Fortunately teaching to a battery of standardized tests is the norm rather than the exception in schools, so a lot of kids can be inexpensively "taught" in a relatively small space.  Of course this leaves the kids with no lasting skills that will help them later in life.  No wonder many kids get out of school disgusted with learning.

11/14/2012 2:53:05 PM
User Rank Urban Legend
Re: Cities of the future, wihtout Citizens of the future?
Studies have show that self directed learning, or an environment of discovery rather than indocrination/memorization is the most affective.

I can appriciate the need for students to have someplace to go durring the day because few parents can afford the luxury of being homoe during the day. Perhaps though we need to rethink our approach.

Instead of classrooms with bells and schedules, what about an expanded "Library-like Learning" space. Ideally I would like to see us abandon grade/age based education in favor of learning thats taylored to each individuals interests and abilities. A person could advance at their own pace instead of the pace set by a monolythic classroom. Would we need fewer teachers if their role was one of guided self study over an area where students could learn on their own.

11/14/2012 2:46:42 PM
User Rank Blogger
Doesn't everyone ALWAYS forget about schools?
I mean, just look at the state of them! And look how little teachers get paid. It's a travesty. And a tragedy. Politicians only invoke the words "education" "schools" and "more money for teachers" when they have an election to win.... after that, it's quickly forgotten. So, no surprise.... sadly.

Nicole Ferraro
Nicole Ferraro  
11/14/2012 1:09:28 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Neglected Schools
Good point about online learning, wbalthrop, but we do have to be conscious of the fact that there's still a digital divide, even in the US; and for many families, with a parent or parents that work during the day, keeping kids at home isn't an option. I think selling online learning to the K-12 crowd will be much more difficult than it's been at the college leve. 

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/14/2012 12:36:39 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Cities of the future, wihtout Citizens of the future?
Learning is much more than memorization for tests. Indeed, it's arguable that testing does not produce lasting educational results. So programs focused on boosting real learning through enjoyable means are an improvement.

Mary Jander
Mary Jander  
11/14/2012 12:31:10 PM
User Rank Staff
Re: Neglected Schools
When you  mention how universities are getting displaced, I wonder whether some of the funding that went to maintaining those facilities might not be reallocated to K-12 education.

Like everything else, education has suffered as budgets have been cut. And there is politicization of the issue of school funding that doesn't help.

11/14/2012 11:57:34 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Cities of the future, wihtout Citizens of the future?
I recall a post by Nicole about pedestrians in the Future Cities. I feel we are also leaving behind Education. Here in Mexico are a couple of projects like Imaginantes that are ways to show kids that education, fun and imagination are not opposites. I can speak for myself, I'm currently working on a small project about lateral thinking and creativity for an Elementary School, is still on a really early stage. However plenty of schools say that since it's not part of the program that the Union states or the official programs that just focus on teaching the children to learn for an exam and then forget everything they're not willing to invest nor even test.

11/14/2012 9:59:45 AM
User Rank Urban Legend
Neglected Schools
I think one of our most tragic crimes as a nation has been the way we have nelected the education of our children. Whiile third world countries provide a better education we keep cutting ours. If we don't prepare our kiids for a new future, we are shooting ourselves in the foot.

There is one ray of hope...maybe. Colleges and Univerities are starting to find that their large and expensive campuses may becoming obsolete with the emergence of on-line classes. The same phenomina may reach into the K-12 area soon.

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