Consolidation of Rural Schools: Mount Desert Island, Maine: A Case Study.Reportar como inadecuado

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In the past and present, the communities of Mount Desert Island in Maine have faced the issue of school consolidation. In 1948, the four towns of Mount Desert Island each had their own high school and several elementary schools. Despite an extensive survey and community discussion, the vote to consolidate into one high school was defeated in 1949 and again in 1959. In 1965, consolidation of the high schools was finally approved. Issues involved in the decision to consolidate included the recommendations of professionals, greater opportunities for students, a guidance program, preparation for transition to college and employment, and financial considerations. The less vocal dissenters feared loss of local control over the schools, community identification and involvement, and affordability. Interestingly, Tremont, the town with the lowest per capita income, spends the largest percentage of its budget on education, and its students outperform those from more affluent towns. The current debate on the Island concerns middle school consolidation, with little community support for the idea. The historical context for consolidation is rooted in urban and factory models of efficiency and efforts to correct inequalities in rural areas. Causes underlying consolidation include economics, politics, and social class. Resistance to consolidation may involve the reluctance of small towns to alter the culture of their communities. Current research shows that smaller schools often produce higher student achievement and higher rates of student participation in activities. (KS)

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Community Involvement, Consolidated Schools, Educational Finance, Educational History, Elementary Secondary Education, Municipalities, Parent Attitudes, Politics of Education, Rural Schools, School Community Relationship, Social Class

Autor: Lawrence, Barbara Kent


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