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Local Control of School Funding Allows for Increased Field Trips

Local Control of School Funding Allows for Increased Field Trips

In California, school districts are using the new school funding formula that leaves the allocation of funds to the district to spend more money on field trips. The move is seen as an opportunity to supplement the typical order of textbooks, Common Core-aligned materials and after school programs with culture-broadening activities.

According to The Hechinger Report, the Vallejo City Unified School District is one district that has increased funding to school sponsored field trips in the hopes that students will get a better education by broadening their horizons.

"Field trips in grades 4 to 12 claimed $120,000 of the budget this school year. By 2016-17, there will be $360,000 available to grades K to 12, enough for every child in the district to attend at least one field trip" the article said.

In the Vallejo school district, 88 percent of its students qualify for free or reduced lunch. "According to their teachers, most don’t come from families that can afford to spend much time in museums," so the ability to travel through school trips has a lot to offer for them.

Additionally, many feel that field trips represent a needed break from structured learning and should not be put to the wayside because standardized testing increases a need for classroom presence.

"Amid increased pressures on schools to produce top test scores, Molly Porter, manager of school and teacher programs for the Natural History Museum and the Page Museum, worries many will decide to forgo out-of-school field trips."

Further, taking time to give students one or two field trips per school year is in fact proven to increase test scores. A study from experts at the University of Arkansas revealed that students who attended field trips typically scored higher on tests than peers who did not.

When schools combine organized field trips with preparation of learning in the classrooms, the students are likely to benefit the most.

"An ideal trip, the Natural History Museum’s Porter said, would include a preparatory visit by the lead teacher, logistical and academic preparation for students and chaperones, and a clear introduction to the exhibits by museum staff. There should also be clear academic goals for students during the visit, like writing observations of the exhibits in a notebook."

Read the full article here and comment below.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

05/13/2015

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