Today, in a podcast on American Radio Works, I was interviewed about our winning entry in Slate Online Magazines competition to reimagine the American classroom. http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/podcast.html I wrote about this a few weeks ago on this Blog and since that time the discussions have been pretty interesting.
The one comment that sticks with me is: "But isn't it more expensive"? I am currently in the process of pricing the design to compare it to a "standard classroom" to really answer this question, and will post my findings here once that process is complete. What strikes me though is the implication that we can't possibly consider spending anything greater than the least amount possible on our kids. I don't think the 5th Grade Exploration Studio will prove to cost very much more than a standard classroom but what if it did?
Times are rough right now but people still want what's best for their children. They will buy them the best clothes, toys, and games they can afford. they will get them the best medical care and do all that they can for their safety and welfare. That's why it puzzles me that people seem to balk at the cost of giving their children a good school environment.
The 5th Grade Exploration Studio is a design that is flexible enough to allow learners to learn in different ways and for teachers to try many different approaches. The teacher in the podcast, Trish Fineran, thought it was a better approach to classroom design. If this were to be slightly more costly (and I am not at all sure that it will be) would we throw it out because of a small incremental cost? To me this is like making the choice to buy something that doesn't meet your needs because its cheaper.
As the old adage goes: "you get what you pay for."