The Dilemma with Overcrowded Schools
American schools suffer serious overcrowding issues - The Dilemma with Overcrowded Schools introduction. Many of them are almost bursting at their seams. Statistical research suggests that American educational system needs complete restructuring: the demographic changes and rapidly growing immigration have seriously undermined the stability of public schools performance in the United States. While students find themselves jammed in the rooms and facilities that had never intended to be classrooms, the quality of the learning process leaves much to be desired.
In this context, extended schedule and construction of new schools will help resolve the majority of overcrowding issues in the U. S. Overcrowded schools dilemma Despite the growing “overcrowding” concerns, not a single state-wide research of school overcrowding has ever been performed in the United States. Statistical analysis suggests that the states with the highest rates of immigrant population are particularly vulnerable to overcrowding risks. In New York alone, 38% students attend overcrowded schools (Kolodner).
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Over the next 50 years, immigration will account for 96 percent increase in student population, and if these immigration trends persist, the escalating costs of education will undermine the quality of educational process as such, depriving students of a chance to become full members of the U. S. society and workforce (CAIR). Overcrowding may not be a problem in itself; rather it is problematic in the sense that it negatively impacts the quality of the learning process. Overcrowding has “a dire impact on learning.
A study carried out as part of the Commission’s work found, in fact, that students in such schools scored significantly lower on both mathematics and reading exams than did similar students in underutilized schools” (Burnett). Overcrowding negatively impacts the quality of instructional techniques used in class. Overcrowding makes it difficult for students to concentrate on their studies. Overcrowded classrooms do not provide teachers with sufficient time for developing and implementing effective strategies for cooperative and group work, and this is not the full list of overcrowding issues.
Taking into account that by year 2100 the United States will need to find room for more than 94 million students (twice as much as the United States has now – CAIR), the whole educational system in the U. S. needs to be revised, to fit into the new demographic frameworks and to satisfy educational needs of all children. School overcrowding: a relevant solution Objectively, building new schools is the best and the most reliable instrument against overcrowding, but construction requires time, and overcrowding needs immediate resolution.
In this context, I propose combining long-term construction strategies with short-term extended day approaches. Extended day will help schools increase their capacity, while local authorities look for financial and non-material resources needed to complete construction projects (PSCP). Extended days imply that students will attend school in shifts; for many of them, overlapping shifts will be a better alternative to spending time in overcrowded classrooms (Burnett).
Special emphasis should be made on the fact that extended days are a temporary measure and are to be used only within a relatively short period, until all construction projects are completed. In the context of the growing immigration populations, construction may substantially improve the quality of education and provide students with a chance to become qualified members of the American society. Construction vs. extended day: why? Public school construction is a long process, which starts with the analysis of enrolment trends and the search for local financing, and finishes when the certification of the finished building is complete (PSCP).
As a result, it will take significant amount of time before our local overcrowding issues are at least partially resolved. That is why extended day is a good alternative to overcrowding. While local authorities are dealing with the major construction issues, extended day is expected to exemplify a reasonable approach to overcrowding in local schools. Extended days do not deprive students of equal access to classes and sports. Extended days do not break traditional calendars. Extended days do not impact the quality of summer programs, and provide high school students with a chance to look for summer jobs (Burnett).
Finally, extended days give students sufficient time to complete their home tasks. Certainly, extended days may not leave students with a chance to work after classes; moreover, such schedules tend to disrupt the learning atmosphere in class (Burnett), but extended days offer more learning opportunities than other types of restructured scheduling (e. g. , multi-track strategies). Conclusion We will not be able to resolve school overcrowding issues without building new schools. In the present day political and economic conditions, construction seems to be the most reasonable and the most relevant approach to school overcrowding.
Simultaneously, we should consider a possibility to use extended days as the instrument for expanding school capacity while new schools are being built. I do not vote for extended days as such; I propose using extended days as a temporary measure only. Extended days should not turn into the central and continuous approach to present day studies; regardless the benefits, extended days remain a least-evil measure aimed at restructuring the learning process, while new construction strategies are developed and implemented in the long run.