Monday, November 26, 2012

Where Train Track ?

Parent would want their kid to go to a school where a train track ran alongside the playground. I fact, when I was in elementary school, I did attend one school for a while that had a train track running along the side. I do not know if any child ever got run over by a train, but I do remember the teachers and parents warning the kids to stay away from the train track because it was dangerous. That makes sense right?

Interestingly enough, there are streets and roads, sometimes very busy boulevards that go right by school zones, and you are much more likely to get run over by a car or someone text messaging while driving their SUV, than a train which is very predictable going down the track, and which makes a lot of noise to alert you that it is coming.

Out in Los Angeles there is a commuter rail line which is trying to get the right away to help move people quicker through the city, but the parents are complaining because the rail line will go right behind the school, and they don't want their kids to be run over by a train. Obviously, I don't think any parent wants their child to be run over by a rain.

We often read in the newspaper the tragic event where a kid was run over by a car, perhaps on their bicycle, or trying to cross the street. One advocate for mass transit was interviewed in the newspaper, the LA Times, stating that if a child was walking down the track an didn't get out of the way when they felt the vibrations, heard the train coming, or the whistle blowing, then perhaps they shouldn't be allowed to grow up and reproduce. The advocate was talking about Darwinism and evolution.

Of curse, the teachers had a different view and it wasn't just about safety, it was about the noise in the classroom, and the constant disruptions. I can vouch for this, because I can remember the train going by and the teachers having to stop teaching for a few seconds and wait for the train to go by, and then continue talking. The same is true for schools near large airports where big jet aircraft take off and. The noise is disruptive in the classroom, and the vibrational energy seems to rattle everything.

we need efficient transportation, and often in large cities there is so much traffic, so much pollution, and so much noise, that public transportation can alleviate much of that, and therefore it might actually be better for teaching and learning. Everything in life is a trade-off. A rural school which butts up against a railroad track would be  a totally different issue, but generally those trains don't come nearly as often even if they do roll by for a longer period of time.

Perhaps we need more research and studies as to the total effect;  teaching time taken, and the reality of the number of kids struck by trains, as opposed to getting struck by cars on highways in and around schools.


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