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Sandra Holbrook, Fargo, Published March 22 2013

Letter: Best education for all is the goal

In referring primarily to the smaller elementary schools in Fargo’s core neighborhoods, The Forum’s editorial noted, “The determination to keep the schools open is as passionate today as it was the last time the district confronted this issue.” Passion about our children’s education is a good thing, but thoughtful decision-making requires more than passion.

Research nationally about what constitutes the best quality of education for all our children (not just in one part of the district) indicates that small schools provide substantial academic and social benefits for children. Evidence of this claim is demonstrated by the fact that Horace Mann/Roosevelt students have excelled on the North Dakota State Assessment the past several years. This is particularly noteworthy since this school’s student population includes a significant percentage of disadvantaged children, demonstrating that a small school can make a big difference for children who are often at risk.

If the economies of scale favor larger, newer school buildings (and that assumption needs careful examination), the question becomes: At what price do we compromise the quality of education for all of our children?

As discussion involving the Fargo School District’s long-range facilities planning effort progresses, I hope that participants from all perspectives will focus first and foremost on providing the highest quality of education possible for all of Fargo’s children.