Renting a trailer for a weekend of hunting and fishing may sound like a pretty sweet option for your next vacation. Renting a trailer for 18 months because the school doesn’t have enough room for its students – not so much.
As a short-term fix to what could be a bigger problem, school board members in District 91 voted last week to lease a trailer and move students who’ve been trying to learn in the hallways at Betsy Ross into this portable unit. Once installed, the trailer would provide separate rooms for teachers to work with kids who need a little more help keeping up with the curriculum. Clearly, this is a better option than trying to keep a youngster’s attention in the busy hallways of the school.
But educators should be prepared for a backlash from parents who’ve recently adjusted to a whole lot of change that was necessary, in part, to better manage the student population. That administrators have been debating the merits of a single-wide versus a double-wide can’t feel like a step in the right direction.
In defense of the need for the trailer, school officials stressed that the issue here is that Betsy Ross Elementary is too small. There are a total of nine classrooms at Betsy Ross. We’re not engineers, but it’s tough to imagine that anyone would build a school today with only nine classrooms. We agree that classes are not overcrowded here, or anywhere else in the district and that the problem being solved has more to do with the facility than with how class sizes are managed.
What remains to be addressed, though, is how the district will negate the need for a trailer in years to come. Minimally, this unit will be in place for 18 months. Then what?