In light of the recently "leaked" school district document calling for school closures and consolidation, let's consider the merits of bigger schools versus smaller ones.
Betsy over at Metroblogging Portland argues that bigger schools have more to offer than little ones:
"... what's so wrong about a larger elementary school? The assumptions and complaints I've heard about larger schools - feeling invisible to school administration and teachers, for example - just don't hold true, in my experience. My daughter attends Buckman Elementary - a school that's been held out lately as a model to follow. ...
"And it's true that a larger school can command valuable resources (or house other resources) through sheer volume alone, in ways both tangible and intangible."
And that's just what Vicki Phillips argues in defense of school closures- fewer schools with richer and more comprehensive programs. Of course Betsy's Buckman is a magnet school, not a neighborhood school, so it was never at risk for closure.
On the other hand, Jeff Dobbins offers this "modest proposal" for school consolidation. He suggests the district consolidate all the district elementary schools into a single location - the Rose Garden Arena:
"On that theory, though, why limit closures to just 15 schools? An administrator truly dedicated to efficiency shouldn’t stop there, particularly when events may soon present an opportunity for optimum efficiency: Is it really coincidence that just as school closures are being discussed again for PPS, which has a elementary student population of about 20,000, the Blazers are threatening to leave town, leaving open a 20,000-seat Rose Garden?"
Now that's an intriguing - perhaps even visionary- idea.