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Lessons Learned on Field Trips

May 29, 2014

We experienced budget crises of varying degrees in over half of the years I worked as Superintendent, and invariably when the budget got tight we debated the worthiness of field trips. The headline of  Washington Post Jay Matthews’ most recent column,”Children Learn Much from Field Trips That They Can’t Get from Lectures, Textbooks”, describes the argument administrators and I would try to roll out whenever Board members would argue money spent on “frills” like field trips would come out of “essentials” like textbooks or materials of instruction.

I learned one indelible lesson in 7th grade when the Junior Geographers Club stopped at a large public dining facility in Delaware on a field trip to the Air Force Base in Dover. The sign above a drinking fountain read: “Whites Only”. Reading about segregation later that year was an abstraction… witnessing segregation was far more striking.

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