A Good Reason to Grow Plants in School
Some schools grow food as part of a larger political ideology — an opposition to trade or agricultural business, or a belief that all food consumed should come from nearby. Others cultivate plants because it’s a great way to study biotechnology. That’s the case at the Clyde C. Miller Career Academy, a charter school in St. Louis:
Unveiled last week, the greenhouse adds to the school’s already impressive list of features — among them, a $1 million kitchen and a science lab where students can clone plants. These facilities are designed to give students hands-on experience in preparation for specific careers.
As is often the case, it’s a charter rather than a traditional public school that’s providing students with cutting-edge career training. Charter schools have an advantage in this regard. I don’t mean this in the sense charter school critics do — that charters take the best students, or whatever. No, the charter advantage is that students choose to enroll or to leave, so charters are free to specialize. A traditional public school couldn’t afford to invest in a new greenhouse, an accompanying lab, and teachers with agricultural experience if only a few students in the school took career-focused courses.