Micro Schools

Matt Candler writes:

Now, listen. Before you go off and yell it from the roof tops that this is the silver bullet we’ve been waiting for, just chill. It’s not. There are no silver bullets in this work.

I like micro-schooling precisely because it constrains us, it forces us to do small batch testing of new ideas, gets us closer to kids and families.


Here’s my working definition of micro-schooling in 2014 and why I think we should build more of them.

1. Modern micro-schools serve less than 153.5 kids.

Psychologist Robin Dunbar’s research suggests that most humans can't manage more than about 150 friendships. The story behind how he came up with Dunbar’s number is fascinating. Read about it if you have a chance. In my experience starting more than 100 schools, I think this number makes sense. When a school gets beyond about 150 kids, it becomes very difficult for adults to keep track of individual students.

Micro-schools embrace this constraint and stay small. The logic behind making schools bigger — to reduce fixed costs and/or diversify teacher expertise had merit 100 years ago when access to information and expertise were more costly. But as the cost of high-quality curriculum moves quickly towards zero, the costs of large schools are starting to outweigh their benefits.

Want more?  Read the whole thing here. 


Hmm micro schools are the the

Hmm micro schools are the the good idea. It will help us to reduce the fix cost and diversity of teachers will really help to share more and more knowledge among the different students.

"As the cost of high-quality

"As the cost of high-quality curriculum moves quickly towards zero..."

Ummm - are you kidding me? It seems like Matt has bought into the old idea that if we just give teachers the right materials and/or scripts, kids will learn. He seems to think that effective teaching (as measured by student learning) can be achieve simply by buying "high-quality curriculum", and "teacher expertise" is a non-factor. "High-quality curriculum" does not exist without "teacher expertise" - someone good has to implement the curriculum. And expertise is at least partly discipline specific. Which suggests that there will still be a role for diversifying teacher expertise.

The "100 years ago things were different" argument is also very old. Educationists have been saying that technology has made information so easily accessible that expertise is obsolete for centuries: the book, the slate, the public library, and the computer have all been said to make everything different. Somehow, it never is...

High quality teachers with discipline-specific expertise are absolutely necessary to effective student learning. They always have been, and always will be.

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