Thanks to NY Teacher for the blog, Field Trips – Good and Bad. The blog reminds us how educational (and cost-effective) field trips can be as rich educational experiences. He also shares the tale of a colleague’s shockingly awful field trip by way of comparison.
I’ve written about how my daughter watched 47 Disney films during one school year and about the abuse of school enrichment programs.
If you are not yet outraged, check out this scanned permission slip for a truly ridiculous field trip from the remarkable Vernon, NJ Public Schools.
Please feel free to share your field trip horror stories in the comments below.
Veteran educator Gary Stager, Ph.D. is the author of Twenty Things to Do with a Computer – Forward 50, co-author of Invent To Learn — Making, Tinkering, and Engineering in the Classroom, publisher at Constructing Modern Knowledge Press, and the founder of the Constructing Modern Knowledge summer institute. He led professional development in the world’s first 1:1 laptop schools thirty years ago and designed one of the oldest online graduate school programs. Gary is also the curator of The Seymour Papert archives at DailyPapert.com. Learn more about Gary here.
3 thoughts on “Even Budget Cuts Can’t Prevent Stupid Field Trips!”
How about an example of a good field trip?
As a former elementary school principal I was flooded with requests for spring field trips to walk to the park. Now keep in mind this wasn’t walk to the park and do something related to nature or an all school spirit day of community building in the park but just to go to the park. I suppose sunlight has its privileges but come on.
My other favorite was the annual bussing of the children to see a crappy children’s play down town that had no tie in to anything going on. I suppose seeing live theatre is an experience some children might not otherwise have but that field trip to the movie is ridiculous. My friends in the local public school have shared an interesting story of how their school requires all books and materials to be collected when there is still a week of school. Students are instructed to bring in sleeping bags and pillows so they can be comfortable as they lie around and watch movies for the last week of school. I’m glad my taxes support such endeavors.
Oh, have I got the number one example for ridiculous field trips. I live in a small, small town in Arkansas and my child attends public school. He is in the G/T program (Gifted) at school. Every year, the G/T program at this small school district books a field trip through a travel agency for the students. The school pays no portion of this trip, it is paid for entirely by the parents. The field trip is on average 3-5 days and the cost runs from $500 to $2000 a person! They alternate years, the big trip ($1500-$2000) one year and the “small trip” ($500-$600) the next. There is a trip EVERY year, either big or small. While the trip is not required, they center an entire 9 weeks curriculum around the trip, so for those children whose parents cannot afford it, they can either attend the G/T pull out class for nothing that nine weeks, or they can choose not to go to G/T class. I am in the middle of a war with the school because my autistic son failed English in the 3rd 9 weeks, so he is not eligible to attend the trip. The school’s policy is that the $500 is non-refundable since they are obligated to the travel agency. My son is autistic and under the Section 504 umbrella, and the school failed to notify there was even a problem with his grade until it was too late to intervene and help him fix the problem. Annual 3-5 day field trips @ a cost to parents of $500-$2000 each in a public school system. Oh, and the travel agency used by the school….one of the GT parents works there and books the trips, so I’m sure she gets a hefty commission. Sound outrageous?
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