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Lesson 5.0

Places For Learning:
Overview of Chapter 5

A place for learning is more than just a building.

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The tangible and intangible qualities that make up a school are collectively known as “teaching and learning conditions.” Education reform efforts that relate to the “places for learning” seek to enhance or reinvent those conditions.

A place for learning isn't just a building or a classroom. How well do you remember your school building? The place for learning is more defined by a school's organization and culture than by its architecture.

What's in this Chapter?

We convinced Jeff to narrate a short video preview of each lesson. We hope you get a kick out of the awkward expressions we captured him in...

5.1 Where Do You Live?: Zip Codes and School Quality
Most kids go to school where they live, and they live where their parents can afford. A zip code can be "five digits of separation." | "Where do you live? / Your zip code, please / five digits give / your destiny"
5.2 School Choice: Should You Have a Choice of Schools?
What if you could choose any school you wanted for your kids? Would you pick the one where you live? | "Is the school next door / the best for you / or just the best / that you can do?"
5.3 Selectivity and Diversity: How Schools Sort Students
On paper, California’s student body is incredibly diverse. But school systems sort students. Some of it is intentional. | "Let's sort the kids / by height or by smarts / or with maps or tests / or targets or darts"
5.4 At Risk: When Regular School Doesn't Cut It
Most parents don't even know these schools exist. | "Failing school / now what? / what options / have I got?"
5.5 Charter Schools: Public schools, different rules
Here's what you need to know about charter schools, who they serve, and why they matter.
5.6 Private Schools: Tuition, Vouchers and Religion
About 4 out of 5 private school students are in schools with a religious affiliation. Home schools are a small, but growing phenomenon.
5.7 Community Schools: Could Schools Do More Than Educate?
The idea of "community schools" is to locate community services (like health clinics) in schools. Very few examples exist.
5.8 Principals: The Pivotal Role of Educational Leadership
California has a school leadership crisis. Principals get tons of blame, but terrible support. It matters. | "The principal / is powerful. / Botch the job / and ruin the school"
5.9 Facilities: What Does a School Look Like?
There’s something that every school facility today should have, but that many don’t. Filling that gap is going to be hard, because it will cost money.
5.10 School Climate: What Makes a School Good?
Khaki pants / logo shirt / uniforms: / Do they work?
5.11 Small Schools: Oops, We Shrunk the Schools!
The "small schools" experiment worked - but it wasn't the magic answer the Gates Foundation hoped for. | "In schools of / a smallish size / students can't / avoid your eyes"
5.12 Home Schools: How Do They Work?
Homeschool's for / religious kids / or those who prefer / to learn from vids
5.13 Discipline and Safety: Who Rules the School?
If a student causes serious trouble at school, should he be expelled? Does it help? What are the choices?

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