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Our View: Budgets don’t dictate how students learn

Posted: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: January 13, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Though some are immune to the situation, we are living in lean times these days, with the term “essential” being constantly redefined as budgets shrink and expectations drop.

Education in this state has been especially hard hit through hundreds of millions of dollars being pulled out of all levels of schooling over the past few years. Classrooms are growing, the number of classes is shrinking and educators are being forced to make do with less and less — or get creative to keep the status quo.

That’s why we give kudos to the local schools, parents and students in their fundraising efforts and creative workaround to ensure quality educational experiences despite being forced to shoulder budget cuts year after year.

Take, for example, the industrious Stevenson Ranch Elementary School fifth-graders who rallied together to organize a recycling drive, along with community and school donations, to help cover the $24-per-student fee to fund a field trip to Riley’s Farms, a first-hand immersion into colonial living.

Elsewhere, Sulphur Springs School District has stopped sponsoring field trips, as transportation costs and other expenses can add up to more than $74,000 to take all of its 240 classrooms to offsite locations. But the school and community have come together to bring outside-the-book learning and experiences to the students with educational assemblies from organizations, such as the Placerita Canyon Nature Center.

This type of involvement is part of what makes the Santa Clarita Valley such an ideal place to live. Instead of merely doing without, our schools and students find new means to get to the ends they want.

And the benefits of field trips and hands-on learning cannot be overstated.

Just about everyone out there who ever took a class trip to a state park, museum, zoo, aquarium, farm or otherwise can remember the outing and perhaps a bit of knowledge gained.

In teaching, there’s only so much information you can squeeze into a young mind through books alone, and many students learn best with a hands-on approach coupled with traditional lecture-based teaching. Sometimes you have to actually see the various rock formations, the fossils and the Conestoga wagon for yourself before you can get the “Ah-ha!” moment.

Well done, SCV schools, in overcoming a tough hand dealt and keeping the benefit of the children at the top of your priorities.


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