Benefits of Small Schools
The growing body of research demonstrates many benefits of the small schools. Benefits of the small schools are wide ranging and include authentic relationships, social inclusion, outstanding learning opportunities, excellent college placement rates, community identity/engagement, as well as increased safety and comfort for students, faculty and community. In addition to student benefits in academics and socio-emotional development, parents, teachers and communities also benefit substantially.
The body of research dealing specifically with school safety can be found on our Costs page. Unfortunately and sometimes tragically, safety is left almost entirely out of funding formulas as districts attempt to save money by consolidating schools. In an era or routine school shootings, there are virtually no instances of tragic school violence in true small schools.
You can learn more about the benefits of the small schools by reading through the articles below. If you have any questions about the benefits of the small schools, we welcome you to contact us directly.
Articles and Research
- Small Schools Whitepaper: A Meta Study on the Benefits of Small Schools. Grauer, Stuart. Small Schools Coalition, 2023.
- Good to Great and the Social Sectors. Collins, Jim. Fast Company and JimCollins.com, 2001.
- Interview Series: Zoe Weil. Education Revolution.
- Forget Football and Prom: What Big High Schools Get Wrong. Grauer, Stuart. Hechinger Report, 2015.
- What’s So Big about Small Schools? The Case for Small Schools: Nationwide and in North Dakota. Hylden, J. Program on Education Policy and Governance, Harvard University, 2005.
- FAQs about MDRC’s Study of Small Public High Schools in New York City. MDRC, 2014.
- Study Shows Why Cliques Thrive in Some Schools More Than in Others. American Sociological Association, 2014.
- The Big Picture on Oregon’s Small Schools. The Oregon Small Schools Initiative, 2010.
- From Students, Less Kindness for Strangers? The New York Times, 2010.
- Small Schools: The Numbers Tell a Story. A Review of the Research and Current Experiences. Klonsky, Michael. The Small Schools Workshop, 1995.
- New Small Learning Communities: Findings From Recent Literature. Cotton, Kathleen. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory, 2001.
Go Small to Increase High School Graduation Rates: What is the Cost of a Dropout?
Finally, the ever-growing body of research indicates going small can increase high school graduation rates. Of course, small schools benefits on the cost of education in America cannot and should not be solely reduced to financial terms. However, when presented within the larger context of budgets, community safety and participatory democracy, the increasingly precarious cost of high school dropout rates on societal stability and prosperity cannot be understated.
A US Bureau of Labor Statistics report indicates high school dropouts are nearly three times more likely to be unemployed than graduates. This figure is expected to continually rise as livable job prospects for people with lower levels of education become more scarce. An Alliance for Excellent Education report indicates the United States could save as much as $18.5 billion in annual crime costs if the graduation rate increased by only 5% versus its present figure….
By staying small and resisting consolidation to increase high school graduation rates, we are providing our youth with every opportunity to succeed in life in the present, as well as in enjoying a better, brighter future for themselves, their families and their communities. Like all of the other costs we discussed, the data on going small to increase high school graduation rates is consistent across geographic, socioeconomic and cultural demographics. You can learn more about going small to increase high school graduation rates by reading these articles:
Graduation Rate Articles and Research
- Does Compulsory School Attendance Affect Schooling and Earnings? Angrist, J. & Krueger, A. The Quarterly Journal of Economics Vol. 106, No. 4. 1991.
- Smaller High Schools Give Graduation Rates a Boost. Langland, Connie. Philadelphia Chalkbeat, 2015.
- Sustained Positive Effects on Graduation Rates Produced by New York City’s Small Public High Schools of Choice. Bloom, H. & Unterman, R. MDRC, 2012.
- Small Schools Study. New Visions for Public Schools.
- The True Cost of High School Dropouts. Levin, H. & Rouse, C. The New York Times, 2012.
- City Students at Small Public High Schools Are More Likely to Graduate, Study Finds. Hu, Winnie. The New York Times, 2012.