With school budgets across the country facing drastic budget cuts, field trips (among other things) are on the chopping block. And, as The New York Times reports, it's not just budget constraints: the logistics of taking a day out of the school year to visit a museum are tough to coordinate, from reserving a school bus to collecting permission slips.
Plus, it takes time away from preparing students for the standardized tests, the results of which determine students' grades and advancement. Erin Fitzgerald, a fourth-grade teacher, said in the Times article: “It’s hard to be gone a whole day. We have a lot of things to get through to get them ready to go into fifth grade, and there’s never enough time.”
Now, the concept of field trips has reversed: traveling museum programs are the ones going to the students. Recently, the Museum of Science in Boston brought a dinosaurs "exhibit" and an inflatable planetarium to nearby schools.
For me, the best days of the school year were spent on field trips. I think it's great that kids are still interacting with museum artifacts and exhibits, but there's nothing that can replace the atmosphere and wonder of a great museum hall full of history and discovery.
Does your local school still take kids on field trips? Do you think they’re valuable? Have any of your schools had museums come to them?