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Articles tagged with classroom size reduction policies

You get what you pay for, especially in education

stockvault_9810_20080130One of my pet peeves is that people demand that public schools do a better job in educating students—then their elected officials pull the rug out from under any effort to do so.

Case in point: After years of investing in smaller class sizes, state policymakers are giving up on the effort because of severe budget cuts.

Now, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of the class-size movement. Although there is research to suggest smaller class sizes are beneficial, my thinking is that some of those benefits are achievable with more careful classroom assignments—basing class size on the needs of each child and the capabilities of individual teachers.

To me, shrinking class sizes to some arbitrary number is no guarantee of student academic gains. If I’m wrong, of course, then today’s policy decisions to raise class sizes are all the more wrong-headed.

 And that, I suppose, is my real point: If you invest millions of dollars and millions of hours in administrative time to improve student learning, what does it say about your commitment to school reform when you give up on that investment because times are tough?

Naomi Dillon|March 17th, 2011|Categories: Governance, Student Achievement, Policy Formation, Budgeting, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |

As budgets decline, classes swell— and few are protesting

general-meeting_w725_h544It doesn’t seem possible these days, but once upon a time, about 12 or so years ago, California and many other states were flush with cash—not only were they able to pay all their bills, they were actually able to expand and create programs. And one of the biggest and most popular, at least in California, was a program to reduce class sizes in the early elementary grades.

It seemed like a great idea, parents and teachers in particular loved it because they felt the students could get more individualized attention and learn more (of course, the teachers unions weren’t complaining about the influx of new members, too).

Naomi Dillon|August 30th, 2010|Categories: Governance, School Climate, Student Achievement, Policy Formation, American School Board Journal|Tags: , , |
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