What is Giving Compass?
We connect donors to learning resources and ways to support community-led solutions. Learn more about us.
Giving Compass' Take:
• Martin Morse Wooster at Philanthropy Daily explores a new trend he's heard about in education circles: microschools. They are private schools that are literally small, but also encourage creativity.
• Are they worth the expense? One of these so-called "microschools" cost $35,000 per year in tuition. That's pretty steep! Especially for schools that aren't proven yet. Wooster's recommendation for donors is to invest in charter schools that stick to the basics rather than a fancy new fad.
• Want to learn more about new approaches to education? Here's one article that digs into trying to close the achievement gap.
I asked a friend of mine who is currently a senior in college, and she told me that when she was in high school earlier this decade, they still had periods, bells when classes end, and hall passes if you had to use the rest room during class. There were still campus-wide announcements to start the day, although what was broadcast over intercoms in my time were broadcast over TV in hers. And much of the time the classrooms were organized in the way they have always been, with students lined up in rows and the teacher sitting in front.
Tyler Koteskey, an education policy analyst at the Reason Foundation, wants to smash all this and encourage creativity. His solution is “microschools": private schools that are so small that they might occupy one floor of a building rather than the whole building.
One microschool Koteskey writes about, Portfolio School, is in the TriBeCa section of Manhattan. Another one called QuantumCamp runs a summer camp for students interested in STEM subjects in Oakland, California, and also runs supplemental programs where homeschool students can come in one day a week for math and science classes. QuantumCamp also has contracts to teach math and science classes in larger schools. Finally, Acton Academy is a private-school franchise based out of Austin, Texas.
All three of these schools are free-form places where students are encouraged to use their imaginations. I saw a video from Portfolio School where the students spent eight weeks learning about ice cream, including how to refrigerate it and where the ingredients for their ice cream came from. Then they got to make ice cream and eat it.
Well, who wouldn’t want that? If I was seven, I’d much rather make and eat ice cream in school than learn about fractions. The problem is that the delightful days of studying about ice cream are quite expensive.
And where Koteskey is maddingly unpersuasive is when he talks about how much these shiny new microschools cost.
Read the source article about whether microschools are a fad by Martin Morse Wooster at Philanthropy Daily.