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Hechinger Report | Class sizes are increasing, but does it really matter?

Hechinger Report | Class sizes are increasing, but does it really matter?.

I really enjoyed this article.  For those of you concerned about class size and potential budget cuts in your state that might increase class size, this article examines several aspects of the debate and is worth the read.

As a former parochial school teacher and principal, I am of the mindset that I would rather have my child in a class of 30 with an awesome teacher than in a class of 20 with a less than stellar educator.  I had 37 students in my first grade class one year (w/a full time aide), and we had a ball.  The kids had a blast, learned a lot and you know what, so did I!

Another layer to this debate, and one that is not often spoken about, is the value of learning in an environment where your needs are not always immediately met and where your problems are not always immediately solved.  There are some social positives to learning the self-reliance that comes with a larger class.  Just a thought!

Another thought…spend more time, effort and funding on ensuring that teacher preparation programs are turning out GREAT teachers.  I do not believe that as a whole, teacher preparation programs in the United States are rigorous enough and demand enough from students enrolled in them.  If we turned out better prepared teachers, class size would not be as much of an issue.

What does everything else think???

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Jen September 7, 2010 at 1:24 am

i agree, quality instructors/teachers in larger class probably better than small class with less than effective instructor. Keeping teachers who produce good results rather than those who are senior seems like a good plan, but buena suerta getting that past the unions…anywho… one of the difficulties facing faculty in the classroom is the inability to cull the students who cause disruption or who are continuous disciplinary problems, distracting form the learning process. In a larger class there may be greater chance of having a pesky problem like that that the teacher can’t get rid of. I’ve always thought that this is something the private schools have less trouble with because they are not obligated to serve these students.


Jen September 7, 2010 at 1:26 am

…and maybe this is why private schools with smaller class sizes have better outcomes and not so much the class size, but the milieu in that class


smartypantzed September 9, 2010 at 5:40 am

Jen- there is some truth to that. I can only speak for the parochial school system when I say we had no tenure for teachers or administrators. I had to write a letter to the Pastor and Board every year outlining the goals I had reached vs. what I had planned to reach the year before. Teachers also had to express their desire to return and then be asked to return by the principal (me at the time) and the Pastor. It was a very humbling experience. One that I appreciated because it forced me to look at myself w/a critical eye. It also helped me weed out teachers that were not positively contributing to the school environment and serving students well.


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