Wednesday, August 25, 2010

What’s more important: School buildings or the teachers who fill them

While browsing eSchool News yesterday, I came across this article. Since reading, I have been continuously thinking about the impact that this will have on students. The article describes how many school districts, including one particular school in Los Angeles, are beginning to build new extremely extravagant and high-tech school buildings. These multi-million dollar facilities feature commodities such as "atriums, orchestra-pit auditoriums, food courts, even bamboo nooks". I was very surprised to discover that amenities such as wireless internet, and high-tech systems are becoming normal in these schools.

Though all of these features may sound exciting, useful and 'cool', they are coming at a very high cost. The article states that, "[in our country] Nearly 3,000 teachers have been laid off over the past two years, the academic year and programs have been slashed". As a future educator, I find this information quite alarming.

In multiple school districts around my hometown, teachers are being laid off, art and athletic programs are being completely taken away, and the school years are actually being cut shorter to reduce costs. At the same time, these districts have elaborate plans in place for new 'state of the art' buildings.

After reading this article and comparing it to my own experiences, I have began to form many opinions and questions about the issue. I can't imagine that students are actually going to benefit MORE from a 'high-tech' building than they would from a highly effective teacher or extracurricular activities.
Though this whole course is about using technology as a key element to teach in the future, I feel as though a good teacher and experience in the arts, athletics or other clubs can be more helpful.

Obviously, technology is a great tool for teachers... is a fancy 'high tech' building REALLY better for a students success than an inspirational teacher?

Why not keep and hire more great teachers and encourage extracurriculars rather than a fancy school building?

Is a pretty building actually going to keep a student in school and help him/her succeed in life? ...I don't think so.

What do you think?

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