The smartest people in my life have graduated from one-room schoolhouses.

The list starts with my Mom and my Dad and their siblings and includes my choir director, my favorite school principal, my favorite regents to the University of Minnesota (I have known two regents), some very successful business people, and the best farmers I have had the pleasure to meet.

My five grandsons are getting ready for a new school year. The youngest is in first grade. The oldest is a sophomore in college. Three of their parents are teachers (in three different school districts).

I have paid very close attention to this new school year and have had a lot of input from the people most affected. I repeat the smartest people I know graduated from one room schoolhouses.

The hybrid and distance-learning proposals have problems for teachers and students. I propose we go back to neighborhood one-room schools. COVID-19 testing and quarantines would be more effective at the smallest community level possible.

Teachers would be safer than with models that expose them to different students each day. Students would be in a better learning environment with built in tutors to model behavior, study habits, and the value of the curriculum.

Consolidated school districts have always been an experiment that lagged behind community needs; based on a wrong understanding of the concept of "economies of scale."

Maybe it is time to look back to move forward.

Larry Kiewel

St. Peter

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