Microschools have manifested as the latest attempt to radically revamp the educational system through new teaching methods and classroom ideas. There has been a fair amount of chatter and hype regarding their efficacy and whether or not they are a realistic prospect for parents. As a parent and someone working in education technology, I admit to a dual interest in this new trend. Does it have the chance to change my industry? More importantly, am I putting my children at a disservice by not enrolling them in one?
What constitutes a microschool?
First, it seems important that we know what we’re talking about. Essentially, microschools are similar to private schools but tend to be cheaper on average and house a substantially lower number of students. Some microschools in the bay area have no more than a dozen students and the average microschool houses only about 153 kids. Teacher to student ratio always acts as a concern for students, parents and educators alike so, from this aspect, microschools seem beneficial in helping to foster a more hands-on learning experience and open lines of communication. This system also dumps the traditional Prussian style schools systems contingent on factory-like modes of teaching. This could possibly aid in children developing at their own pace and give them the ability to hone the skills that they already have interests in similar to Montessori trends.
Microschooling ditches a predetermined curriculum and hands the power of education back to the students. This gives them an invaluable chance to learn how to be an autodidact, or in other words, how to teach themselves efficiently. In today’s fast pace world, such a skill can be the difference between success and abject failure. However, smaller class size and idiosyncratic learning methods do not come cheap. While the price does vary, the microschool ‘Portfolio School’ charges an annual tuition of 35,000. While this does initially seem like an outrageous fee, a statistical comparison against private schools shows a considerable bargain.
In summary, microschools seem like a unique concept that can potentially pay dividends in a child’s education if they truly deliver the goods they claim to export. Data on long-term effects have not yet been produced, so a thorough analysis of their full potential against public and private school systems cannot be made as of now. However, it appears that this type of innovation deserves to be examined and the potential investments that parents could make towards their child’s livelihood should be considered. The future of education seems to be embedded in upheavals in the way things are traditionally done and microschools appear to be a step in that direction. That being said, without additional research, it seems like it’s more or less still in a development phase. That’s right kids – I don’t think we’ll be making any drastic changes anytime soon.