I just watched CNN this morning and saw the report on the $578,000,000 school in California. I am not sure how I feel about this. Sure they went a little over board with flat screen tv's in the sidewalk, but when students are given a nice place conducive to learning they will be more likely to feel comfortable, they may enjoy coming to school just to be in a nice place. The teachers will absolutely be happier in that teachers lounge :) lol The flip side of this issue is, that to learn students really just need a good teacher. Putting those extra $$ into hiring teachers and ensuring high quality teaching is taking place would have been enough.
I am currently teaching in an inner city middle school. Our feeder pattern (the elem. and high school that we get students from) is the first to have new technology in every classroom. Every classroom in this feeder pattern has a smart board, classroom performance systems, new mac computers, and access to many helpful websites. Although the students do not realize that most private schools do not even have access this level of technology, it helps the teachers provide a variety of learning strategies and a high quality diverse education to these students who need it most.
Again $578,000,000 seems excessive, but we must keep in mind it is a k-12 school. It will service over 4,000 students in an economically disadvantaged neighborhood. If the school has good leadership and the students are not left to destroy everything that has been paid for and put in place for them, they might take pride in their learning environment and taking pride in their education and school, which could lead to them taking more ownership in their learning, leading to higher test scores.
Is it fair that all of this money was put into one school in one area? probably not, but hopefully something can be learned from this school. Maybe instead of wasting money on 'new initiatives' in the next few years money can be put into a fund to help fix up other dilapidated schools. On CNN a parent was upset because her daughters school, in a better part of town was dilapidated she even showed pics. Why does her daughter deserve this school more than any other child? If she really cared about her daughters education she would be wanting to ensure that highly qualified teachers were being hired and kept, and that her daughter was receiving a high quality education. Again, looks are not everything no matter where you live or what background you come from, someone is always going to have something bigger, better, or nicer. Looks are not always what matter, in this case what happens inside the doors is what will make the difference.