Center for Digital Education & Converge: research in education technology for K-12 and higher education

Bring Field Trips Back

on November 10, 2009

The number of field trips classes are allowed to take is diminishing. Students see less and less field trip permission slips being passed out in their classrooms. The main reason students cannot take trips outside of school to further their education is simple –– budget cuts.

The cost of these trips does not make the cut, and schools do not have the funding to afford these trips anymore. Are these field trips worth fighting for? What benefits do they provide for students?

The purpose of school is to prepare students for life beyond the school doors. Schools need to instruct their students about how the “real world” operates, and to learn about what to expect once they enter it. 

Field trips can be an outlet for students to experience the real world for themselves. Unfortunately, students have not seen a glimpse of the real world as often as they could due to schools' budget cuts.

Mr. Schmidt, a teacher at Empire High School, is familiar with both the importance of field trips and the school’s recent budget cuts. He is the head coach of Empire’s track team, the head director of Empire’s student council and also a math teacher for three different courses.

When asked how much budget cuts are affecting the number of field trips being taken, he replied, “Significantly. Teachers are far more restricted on their field trips as far as travel is concerned. It is really just the travel factor, honestly. You are limited on how many trips you can take and the distance you can go."

"Last year, everyone could only go on one trip a year, and they have changed that policy a little bit now, but they are still limited on how many can be taken. All trips need to be approved by our principal, Mr. Donaldson, and even after that [it] is not always a guaranteed trip."

"Teachers have to hope that there are enough drivers available, and that there is enough fuel to go the distance. Another problem is that a lot of teachers feel like there are so many hoops to go through to travel that they do not attempt to even try to travel.”

Field trips are a vital part of education. There are a lot of places that students may never get to see on their own, but schools can provide those experiences for them.

Having field trips occur in an educational setting with their teachers and classmates increases the effectiveness of the activity. It makes the experience have a more concentrated value and purpose.

These budget cuts and setbacks limit the experiences that students can receive through an educational outlet. This is just another setback that budget constraints are causing, and once again it is we, the students, who are missing out.

We are missing out on positive interactions with our teachers and the ability to see their passions for a subject in real life settings. We are essentially missing out on the opportunities that may have inspired our teachers to be who they are today. How much more can we really lose before the value of education decreases?

Shaylyn Grow
Empire High School



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on Nov 17, 2009
We provide tours of our high-tech facility (Integrated Microscopy and Graphics Experts), IMAGE, at Southern Illinois University, all the time. Last week, we conducted a tour for Carbondale Community HIgh School (15 students) and today we will give another for a class of thirty 6,7,8th graders. We show them transmission and scanning electron microscopes, as well as light microscopes. The students often bring materials for viewing in the microscopes and leave with digital images for their classrooms. We have been doing this for 27 years and hope to continue doing it, since we enjoy seeing the student's faces when they view their materials at such high magnifications. John Bozzola, Director, IMAGE Center, Southern Illinois University; Carbondale, IL

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