With many of our schools bursting at the seams it makes me wonder why the government does not step in and build new schools or fill more positions. Overcrowding can lead to poor discipline, low graduation rates and a low morale overall.
Did you know that 1 in 3 secondary school students in the USA go to an overcrowded school? A school in Los Angeles was built for 800 students. Guess how many it ‘educates’? 4200. Yes, 4200 students are crammed into the piece of infrastructure that is South Gate Middle School (since this could be cited as libel, I reference Just Schools California for this figure). GreatSchools.net gave the school a 2/10 rating. The same website says the school has only 3036 students attending. 99% of the pupils are of Hispanic ethnicity.
The worst offenders of overcrowding are the states of California and Utah. It is easier to obtain information about California’s problem. 35% of classrooms for California in 1999 were portables. When schools are overcrowded officials convert other vital facilites (such as gyms and libraries) into classrooms. About 29 students populate each classroom in California.
Overcrowding gives each student less attention. When schools are cutting corners on their pupils’ education, they cut corners on infrastructure too. Californian officials have put in place ‘concept 6’ schools for about 1 million Californian students. Because of the loss of time during this system, pupils lose a total of 1 year’s worth of education during their 12 years at school.
So why isn’t the government doing anything? Funding, you might say. Wrong! In 2002 a state bond was passed to help with the schooling system in California. So far, none of the money has gone towards closing the ‘concept 6’ schools that the government has admitted are problematic.
School buses are provided for most children as a convenience. But are these buses really all that convenient? You guessed it. These are overcrowded too. It’s not just the US that faces this problem. In Maroochydore, a town on the east coast of Australia, 120 kids were allegedly crammed into one school bus one Monday – and every other day, according to a concerned parent. The legal limit was 57 seated and 12 standing. The bus picked up students from eight schools in the area.
Legal limits are increasing (2000 students?) but these are being breached as well. One Manhattan, NY school had about 3000 students in late 2004.
Where are our leaders, our school boards, the people in charge? Our schools are bursting at the seams and look shabby too. Wake up, government.