Since visiting 3 schools in Tampere, Finland, last month, I have been chewing on a thought one of the counselors left me with: how can you know your students if you have that man? I had told him we have mega schools of two and three thousand and many with at least 1500 in the United States. In Tampere, which is a large city, the schools are around 350 students and each one has a focus. I went to a classical high school that focused on lanugages. They taught English, Swedish, Latin, German, and Italian. Another school focused on art. The talent was oosing from the walls, and the students were very different form the ones in the language school. The vocational high school, where students prepare or careers that will not likely take them to the university, was very different. Students concentrated in study areas: floralist, hordiculturalist, chefs, waiters and waitresses, tourism specialists. They were graduated by groups and congratulated by the faculty lead for their specialization. The facillity was incredible with a working restaurant and farm and amazing grounds for the hordiculture work.
Are we missing the boat by trying to be all things to all students? Do fewer students “fall through the cracks” if they attended schools focused on their specific interests and needs where faculty know them and have a passion for the same types of things?
What do you thinK?