Do High School Students Prefer Coffee To Books?

December 04, 2010

This school term a Texas high school cleaned out its library of books and replaced the contents with a coffee shop and laptops, and extended its hours of use – from 6:30 AM to 6:30 PM. Instead of books, students will have access to online resources and some laptops.

Though it got only a passing mention, it appears the coffee shop will be run by business students as a vocational program. Coffee and food will be available, presumably to buy, for part of the twelve hours the shop is opened.

The coffee shop resource center is controversial because of the economic discrimination that will result. The poorer students may not have access to learning materials at home, putting them at a disadvantage, as they won’t be able to work outside shop hours. Those who have their own electronic reading devices will be able to bring home the ebooks they check out.

There was no mention of the menu offered by the new coffee shop. Because it was compared to a Starbucks atmosphere, we can assume the menu will include coffees, teas, cocoas and sugary pastries. Apparently, high school students are drawn to Starbucks and thus having such a facility in the school will give them the atmosphere at the same time they are given the study resources.

It would be interesting to know what percentage of high school students drink coffee. Most studies cite stats for those 18 and above, past high school age. Many high schools have had espresso carts in the school for years - so many high school students have had coffee accessible during the school day. One positive conclusion: the community’s coffee shops will have a group of experienced baristas with every graduating class, and the students will gain a skill for part-time employment as they attend college or join the workforce.

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