Thursday, August 10, 2006


It’s odd that Nebraska’s public policy in recent years has been to consolidate school districts and make them bigger and bigger. You see it in the ugly mess over LB 126 and the forced merger of Class I country schools into larger K-12 districts in towns and cities. And you see it in the conglomeration of funding power within the Omaha metropolitan area into one giant “learning community” that will lock out parents, taxpayers and even individual districts and teachers, and lock in educrats.

Thanks to the Class I supporters for providing this study, completed last year with beaucoup footnotes, that comes to these conclusions. It would be important for people everywhere from the State Education Department to the Legislature to the Omaha Public Schools brouhaha to keep in mind. Most of all, here’s hoping voters find out about this study so that they can vote to repeal LB 126 on Nov. 7 and put in place policymakers who don’t fly by the seat of their pants on education issues, but take time to find out what really works for kids:

-- The educational and financial results of state mandated school district consolidations do not meet legislated expectations.

-- There is no “ideal” size for schools or districts.

-- “Size” does not guarantee success – effective schools come in all sizes.

-- Smaller districts have higher achievement, affective and social outcomes.

-- The larger a district becomes, the more resources are devoted to secondary or non-essential activities.

-- Local school officials should be wary of merging several smaller elementary schools, at least if the goal is improved performance.

-- After a school closure, out migration, population decline, and neighborhood deterioration are set in motion, and support for public education diminishes.

-- There is no solid foundation for the belief that eliminating school districts will improve education, enhance cost-effectiveness or promote equality.

-- Students from low income areas have better achievement in small schools.

See it for yourself on:


Class I proponents also cite a study called “School Size, School Climate, and Student Performance” by Kathleen Cotton. It’s 10 years old, but the findings are still very much relevant and up to date:


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