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Lennep School Featured on NPR

One Room Schools (Audio Player Required)

“In 1919 there were 190,000 one-room schools scattered all around the American countryside. Now there are fewer than 400 left. . .”

The one-room school at Lennep, Montana, is featured in the first of a once-a-month series of radio documentaries for National Public Radio on one-room schools in America that will run through June, 2006.  The series is created by independent producer Neenah Ellis.

The tone of the piece is something of a lament, recognizing that the one-room model has advantages educationally but that the forces of depopulation and economies of scale seem to leave little hope that they are much more than vestiges of a lost time.

Maybe. But history is full of tricks. It seems unlikely to me that the mass education models of urban schools will prove satisfying enough for parents who are becoming increasingly wealthy and increasingly harried by the demands of urban life. The trends that seem most interesting to me are Internet-based distance learning and home schooling. It’s not hard to imagine a trend toward high-tech “retro” schools, featuring more personalized teaching, more flexibility to take advantage of beyond-the-classroom experiences, and more chances for parents to be participants in teaching and learning. As Ellis notes, the little multi-age one-room schools are “worth a second look.”

For information on the series, visit the National Public Radio website.

Posted by Michael L Umphrey on 12/23 at 02:03 PM






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