Thursday, August 29, 2013

The smallest 'small school' has no permanent school building at all

My small school proposals seem to be too radical for most in this inert little province by the restless sea.

I discovered this when I went before a Nova Scotia public inquiry  and suggested that public schools follow the example of the province's universities.

Our two biggest, Dalhousie and St Mary's both moved about a fair bit before settling in their current physical locales and even then their university centre could move about within the campus lands.

Dalhousie , for example ,has been at its present location for over a century but its original building ,the Forrest Building, is now but the Dental School portion of this now immense university.

But from locale to locale, building to building, Dal has kept its name and institutional history.

But close the present building of the Burlington Elementary School because it is far too big for just twelve students and the school nd its history disappears along with it.

I suggested to the public inquiry that instead of killing that school's institutional history (and link to the present students' grandparents own school days) stone dead by busing all the kids to a big new consolidated school thirty miles away, why not house the same school in a new locale - the local fire hall's upstairs meeting room for example.

My wife, Rebecca, happily attended a public taxpayer financed school that rented space in an Antigonish County church basement and she has no signs of physical or mental abuse as a result.

But the public commissioner was left unmoved by my comments - to him and his ilk, schools aren't about learning but about real estate.

To be fair - the very varied public (Dartmouth area) audience before him felt no differently - I heard no murmur of support behind me as I sometimes get when I make bold suggestions at public meetings.

British public ( ie private) schools feel as I do and are content to rent ---- maybe that is why they are more noted for their students' successes than for the quality of their plumbing and heating .....

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