Graduation Date

5-2017

Document Type

Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Humanities and Cultural Studies

Department or Program Chair

Chase Clow, Ph.D.

First Reader

Chase Clow, Ph.D.

Abstract

In America, we are seeing a lack of effectiveness with our K-12 schools. This costs the school districts and taxpayers money with very little return guaranteeing an ongoing investment into adulthood. Students finishing high school have very little if any applied learning and technical skills, and still need to accomplish at least four years of college or a trade school to be able to compete, even for a job not requiring a degree. Of those high school graduates, half and growing do not feel that they are prepared for college. Students also have little understanding of, or experience with, the ecology or economics of the world they are inheriting. Consequently, this impairs the ability of young adults to take the reins of, understand, predict and troubleshoot global economics, politics and the ecological externality costs of their actions. This paper acknowledges that using traditional organic gardens in schools is a time-honored tradition and is beneficial for schools, teachers, and students while still having many externality benefits. However, it finds that if funding K-12 curriculum is shifted to support the development of aquaponic farms as a foundation for standardized education, the opportunity for a more thorough education is increased. Despite high up-front costs, aquaponic farms are a good investment because of their ability to utilize applied and reflective learning in many subjects in a calculated way. Aquaponics is also upgradeable and scalable to fit technological and environmental evolution ensuring that high school graduates have hands-on experience with real and up-to-date life skills.