EDITORIALE N. 4 APRILE 2002


Negli Stati Uniti si stanno riscoprendo i modelli scolastici europei accompagnati dalle loro strutture; questa è una interessante notizia individuata on-line sul sito McKinsey (www.mckinseyquarterly.com) di cui riportiamo alcuni estratti della Home Page (per entrare nel sito è necessario la registrazione).

«Small learning communities can help big-city public schools re-create the intimacy and personal attention of their small-town counterparts, boosting graduation rates and achievement. Bill McKinney, David M. Steglich, and Jill A. Stever-Zeitlin The McKinsey Quarterly, 2002 Number 2 Evidence continues to mount that smaller high schools get better results than larger ones. In small settings, children particularly those who were underperforming learn more, behave better, and are less likely to drop out.1 Harlem’s Central Park East a freestanding school with upward of 300 students in grades 7 through 12 graduates over 90 percent of its students, mostly from poor homes, and sends almost all of them on to four-year colleges. Experiments with small-school environments in Boston, Chicago, and other cities show similar results. Small schools appear to work not because classes are smaller but because teachers get to know students as individuals and take an ongoing interest in their success. Unfortunately, high schools in the largest US cities tend to have enrollments in the thousands. Yet the huge school buildings most such cities have inherited can be subdivided into small learning communities, which help students in much the same way that small freestanding schools do. These smaller units can retain the advantages of size by sharing specialized elective courses, extracurricular activities, and athletic programs with other small learning communities. [...]. The pilot high schools consistently have among the highest attendance rates and the lowest student-transfer rates two of the best predictors of graduation rates. Student behavior has dramatically improved: two of the pilot high schools haven’t had to suspend a single student in two out of the past three years; another hasn’t suspended a single student in the past four»

Si forniscono numerose statistiche e risultati ma rimangono grossi problemi aperti; il più importante riguarda l'aspetto economico. Maggiori servizi dislocati sul territorio, più docenti professionalmente qualificati e ben remunerati hanno a che fare con notevoli investimenti. Allora si pone la questione: quantità o qualità?