The Members of the Madison School Board have agreed to attend and participate in the Northside Planning Council and the East Attendance Area Parent/Teacher Organization Coalition (NPC/EAAPTO) Forum to be held on Sunday, October 21, 2007 (3:00p.m. at the UW Memorial Union’s Tripp Commons). This joint meeting of the NPC/EAAPTO Coalition and the members of the School Board constitutes an open meeting of the members of the Madison School Board for which public notice must be given pursuant to Wisconsin Statute § 19.82 through § 19.84.
But do small, neighborhood schools really lead to higher achievement levels for students?
“I don ‘t think there ‘s any hard-core answer to that, ” said Allan Odden, a UW-Madison education professor and nationally recognized expert in education policy and reform.
Research so far, Odden said, fails to show a clear link between achievement and school size, particularly within the range of sizes in Madison.
The district ‘s smallest elementary school is Nuestro Mundo, with 181 students, and largest is Leopold, with 718.
Odden does offer an opinion, though, of Madison ‘s turmoil over neighborhood schools.
“What I would say is the city has too many schools in some neighborhoods and it costs too much to keep some of them open, ” Odden said. “The issue to me here is not effectiveness (of small schools compared to larger schools). The issue to me is budget and politics. ”
The other trade-off, in some neighborhood schools, is that students may be packed into classrooms or have inferior bathrooms or gyms, compared to their peers in larger, newer buildings.
This is an issue. The classroom fixtures in new school structures (far west elementary building) are quite different than those found in most facilities.