Skip to comments.4,100 Students Prove ‘Small Is Better’ Rule Wrong
Posted on 09/29/2010 5:20:07 PM PDT by neverdem
BROCKTON, Mass. A decade ago, Brockton High School was a case study in failure. Teachers and administrators often voiced the unofficial school motto in hallway chitchat: students have a right to fail if they want. And many of them did only a quarter of the students passed statewide exams. One in three dropped out.
Then Susan Szachowicz and a handful of fellow teachers decided to take action. They persuaded administrators to let them organize a schoolwide campaign that involved reading and writing lessons into every class in all subjects, including gym.
Their efforts paid off quickly. In 2001 testing, more students passed the state tests after failing the year before than at any other school in Massachusetts. The gains continued. This year and last, Brockton outperformed 90 percent of Massachusetts high schools. And its turnaround is getting new attention in a report, How High Schools Become Exemplary, published last month by Ronald F. Ferguson, an economist at Harvard who researches the minority achievement gap.
What makes Brockton Highs story surprising is that, with 4,100 students, it is an exception to what has become received wisdom in many educational circles that small is almost always better.
That is why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last decade breaking down big schools into small academies (it has since switched strategies, focusing more on instruction).
The small-is-better orthodoxy remains powerful. A new movie, Waiting for Superman, for example, portrays five charter schools in New York, Los Angeles and elsewhere most with only...
The committee put together a rubric to help teachers understand what good writing looks like, and began devoting faculty meetings to teaching department heads how to use it. The schools 300 teachers were then trained in small groups...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
I went to a TWO ROOM CATHOLIC Grade School....one nun for 1-4 and one nun for 5-8 and it was the BEST EDUCATION one can imagine!! Small classrooms my ass.
...and I’ll bet the drop out rate was minuscule by comparison.
My Catholic school 7th grade class had 36 students per teacher. We did very well.
The problem is LOUSY...LOUSY LEFTIST TEACHERS and Parents who just want their little Suzy and Bobbie to get their stars!
The teachers didn't know what good writing looks like? That's sad.
Brocktons performance is not as stellar in math as in English language arts, and the committee has hired an outside consultant to help develop strategies for improving math instruction
Maybe because the students spend all of their time in math class WRITING instead of doing math!
Horrible parenting is the #1 cause for problems children face in school, and a bad curriculum, infrequent testing. Back in my school we had 3 scheduled quizzes and 2 midterms(became 3 midterms grade 7 and upwards) each week in different subjects (rotating). My motivation to do well in school and in life in general was to make my parents proud. Ask any psychologist and they will say that boys will try and emulate their father and girls will try and find a mate with the same characteristics as their father. So when marriage has become a mockery in this country its no wonder that the children are becoming “stupider”
Many people have complained that athletes make millions while teachers only make tens of thousands. My response was that the athlete could entertain more than a million people at once. Find a teacher with a million kids in the class and we can talk about million dollar salaries. Where is the proper break point where reducing class sizes and bringing in presumably worse teachers on the margin means the kids learn less and less. Of course the teachers' unions want as many employees as possible, so don't expect them to help with this research.
Your educational experience sounds like mine. When I think about the size of my Boomer grade school classes and about the excellent education I received for 12 years of my life, I marvel at the dedication and the skill of those good sisters.
My first grade class had 52 students, every one of which learned to read.
When I hear people whine about the “cruel” discipline the nuns used, I ask, how would YOU teach 52 children?
In Korea, the average class size is over 50 students. And they operate on a shoestring budget that makes the money spent on the American, government-run school system seem obscene.
And they perform much better.
The problem with American education is not that there is not enough money or that the classes are too big.
The problem is cultural. And at the top of the list of the cultural problems is the culture of corruption that exists between the teachers’ unions and statist politicians (read: leftist Dems and RINOs) in their handshake deal: money for votes.
IMO administrators and other non-teaching personnel are a clear and present danger to good education.
District administrative offices should be down-sized and more control placed in the individual schools. There are too many “experts” around who don't contribute to school goals.
Many school boards are infected by former school supervisors and administrators when strong parental presence is needed.
When I was a kid I think Brockton High’s graduating class was 2,000 kids.
And they have the right to starve to death since they can't earn a living. "You don't work, you don't eat."
LOL! I know the feeling. My Catholic 7th grade was in the same room as the 8th grade. Same nun taught both classes at the same time. 52 kids.