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Dr. Grauer's Column - “Dear Small School”: The Private Letters of Stuart Grauer

“Dear Small School”
The Private Letters of Stuart Grauer

Dear Small Schools Coalition,

Please help me. I'm a mother of two children from Cranford, New Jersey. Dr. Grauer’s article "Small Versus Large Schools: The Truth About Equity, Cost, and Diversity of Programming in Small and Large Schools" has given me hope.

Currently, our town is debating over whether or not we should get rid of our already-existing four small neighborhood schools. Some people in our town want to remove that configuration.

I'm part of a group of parents that strongly agrees that smaller schools are better from an educational, social and emotional perspective. And we are trying to gather research that proves that. Dr. Grauer's article is a huge start. We agree with everything that he states in the article. Is there any way to access some of the data or research that he used to write the article? Furthermore, is there any way to speak with Dr. Grauer in order to gain more of his insight and expertise?

I would be forever grateful if you could help me on this extremely important issue. It would be helping many people in our town, and most of all, our children.

Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing your response.

Sincerely, CD

Grauer students Sophie, Chris, Zachary, and Bennett working together to solve a Mathematical Modeling Challenge - March 3, 2019

Dear CD,

Schools of less than 400 and especially of less than 225 are cheaper because:  they have higher graduation rates, less teacher drop out, way less violence and crime, and way more connection to the local community vendors (and others).  All these factors are almost always left out of funding formulas. Although there is no research to the contrary, bigness always seems to be the answer anyway, because in larger schools people who are not teachers make more money, and more decisions.

In today's large high schools (over 400), about 50% of all people employed are not teachers--far greater than in small schools. Furthermore, at the Small Schools Coalition, we have many years of consistent research easily demonstrating at smaller schools, higher test scores; greater connectedness among students, teachers and parents; more safety both physical and emotional; and greater connection to the community.

Small schools more easily incorporate local merchants and elders and volunteers, as well. They are the heart of many communities, another unmeasurable. Add to all this the deleterious impact of students spending millions of hours a year on long bus rides where they often feel intimidated, and you have a view point that is ignored at the district and state levels—really tragic.

Dr. Stuart Grauer, Small Schools Coalition

Grauer Middle School students Michael, Ryan, and Talia shooting in their first archery meet - March 2, 2019

Hi Dr. Grauer,

I quoted your research this week at a town meeting and it was very impactful! I don’t know how to thank you enough. I will to continue to reference your work to help our cause. As a parent, I appreciate your communication and your thoughtful call to action and empowerment of your students. 

Sincerely, CD

Grauer Middle School students hiking on Annie's Canyon Trail - March 1, 2019

Dear CD,

Thank you for your appreciation and for advancing our shared cause for smaller, compassionate learning communities that are place-based and relationship-based. I wish I could say your letter was rare, but we get these letters routinely. And not just from the United States: consolidation, “bigness” for its own sake, and the institutionalization of real education is happening all over the world. 

Please stay in touch with our website, smallschoolscoalition.com, to keep up with our work to keep the focus away from corporations and governments and on the sacred relationship between a real teacher and a student. And write us any time. Onward!

Dr. Stuart Grauer, Small Schools Coalition

Dr. Grauer loves to hear from his readers. Please click on the  "Comments" drop-down box below to leave a comment about this column!

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