Skip to comments.Skorkowsky, other educators press for more money to reduce class sizes
Posted on 03/23/2013 1:33:17 PM PDT by redreno
A parade of educators told legislative budget committees Saturday that more money must be poured into reducing class sizes in the elementary grades to help students advance.
We have to restore class size, said Pat Skorkowsky, interim superintendent of the Clark County School District. Our teachers are asked to do more and more with less.
An overflow crowd in Las Vegas attended the hearing, which was televised from Carson City.
Jeremy Christensen, a high school teacher in Clark County, called it child abuse when children are packed into a classroom
(Excerpt) Read more at lasvegassun.com ...
There is zero evidence that reduced class size leads to better educational results. The real rationale is simple: smaller classes = more unionized teachers.
... oh, and we also want to reduce class sizes."
My daughter attends a private school with no union class sizes are a ratio of 20 to 1. If it didn’t matter why do they limit class size in private schools? Also not all teachers are pro-union.
Agree! ....In all years of my public schooling (’48-’60), every class size was 30-40 kids.
What class sizes do today’s union teachers want? Sounds like they just want less paperwork and more money.
And there you have it.
Parents have been trained for decades to identify small class sizes with educational quality. A widely held assumption is still an assumption.
I can tell you first hand that smaller class sizes do have an impact on teaching! I have only juniors and seniors and have taught in the innercity gang banging high schools as well as the private catholic high schools and I noticed that it makes a difference when I have 31 vs 15 on any given day - seniors out for this or juniors out for that. I noticed a very large difference in subject comprehension, student focus and an increase in their willingness to ask questions in a smaller class size.
I would conceed that there may not be any official study, but I would like to see if one could follow two groups of students from 9 thru 12 grade, I’d be willing to bet that the smaller class size group would have higher test scores. Further I would like to see the public schools attempt a co-ed campus with single sex classrooms. That would not require any more teachers, just an excellent effort in assigning classes to students. Study after study has shown that boys do learn differently than girls. There would be no distractions of the co-ed classroom, thus having student more focused on the lesson being taught.
Let’s quiz these ‘leaders’ as to the class sizes THEY had a children, since obviously that resulted in well educated people who have the ‘right’ ideas now. Did they all have tiny class sizes?
If not, then wouldn’t it be contrary to their entire theory? After all, if large class sizes developed such proper thinkers and opinion makers, aren’t they shooting themselves in the foot with the desire for small class sizes?
Smaller classes are only there for one thing, it is not the children, it is not for quality of education, it is for quantity of educators, administrators, human resource workers, security guards, janitorial staff, and everyone else they can toss in. More government union employees to take control of more of the budget.
That is their overriding goal - to create the largest corps of public employees possible, to maintain greater power (and union dues.) And people fall sucker to this over and over again, imagining that little Jimmy will have more teacher attention in a smaller classroom, whereas the reality is that the teacher’s going to teach by whatever program the union decides is best and most likely to produce students who toe the liberal line.
If they can’t read, who cares, they only have to hit a like or share button on facebook when they become adults to propagate the propaganda. Reading comprehension might cause these students to actually research issues and beliefs, rather than simply accepting what they’re told to think by rote.
The size of all levels of government MUST be shrunk and returned levels of sanity. We MUST stop the continued embezzlement of public funds for the gain of public employees. All employees MUST be paid a straight salary with zero benefits; let them buy whatever retirements, benefits or beanies they desire, but at the end of each year, the only debt a city, county or state should be in should consist only of constitutional and voter approved bonds.
The unapproved bonding of public funds for future benefits has to stop. No previous school board, city council, board of supervisors or even state legislature may shackle the powers of future elected members, and limit their budget power. Somewhere, somehow, elected officials have to throw off these promises of previous governments and say ‘hey, that’s nice, go collect from the person who made that promise, as I’m the elected member, and we vote on OUR budget. This is unbonded debt which we have no obligation to honor. Your employment contract does not bind our budget powers, no matter what foolhardy laws have been passed.’
Without those elected standing up for their own positions and the benefit of the people, many many more cities will find themselves in the throws of bankruptcy and assets that belong to the people shall be seized and sold off to satisfy promises from people who are no longer in office, and do not have to come up with the money to pay off these promises.
Fact: More money = worse education.
Always. No exception anywhere.
Such evidence as there is shows class size correlating negatively with student performance. Now, this may well be a deceptive correlation. Among other issues, in public schools, smaller class sizes are often a symptom of a totally failed school district from which everyone with a pulse is moving away ... except for the gazillions of school-system employees, most of whom never go near a classroom, and most of whose children attend private schools.
Nonetheless, this negative correlation, like the negative correlation of education spending with student achievement, ought to be strongly considered by voters and legislators. Whatever the problem really is, it is NOT fixed, but rather made worse, by adding more employees and/or more funding.
“If it didnt matter why do they limit class size in private schools? “
Because parents are willing to pay for that feature whether it helps or not.
“There is zero evidence that reduced class size leads to better educational results.”
That’s not quite true. there are number of studies that show that children under about age 7 are helped greatly by smaller class sizes. also when class sizes get down below about eight students there is an improvement as well The really at that point it starts to become individual tutoring rather than “classes”.
But your larger point as far as classes from about a dozen to about 35 applies, and as a matter of fact generally the larger end does better than the smaller end. the real debate there is as to exactly why the larger end does better than the smaller end. My personal guess, is that if you assume that the local school boards are making any attempt whatsoever at getting the best teachers they can, That with limited supply when you reduce the class size you are taking some of the students and giving them to the same good teacher and taking the rest of the students and giving them to a teacher who would not otherwise meet the standards of the existing teachers. while there is a pretty much endless supply of education major graduates, there is not at all an endless supply of competent teachers.
I went to a two-room rural elementary school (Grades 1 through 8). There were 90 students — 45 in each room, divided into 4 grades each, and probably 45 different ability levels. Later on, several similar schools, in the county, were amalgamated into a larger one that allowed for individual class rooms per grade (or two). That was certainly an improvement; so I will agree that there are limits to class size.
What I’m referring to is classes the size they are now — typically fewer than 25 students, of a single grade. That’s where reduced class size won’t help.
Thanks to “mainstreaming”, where there are a number of special-needs students in a typical classroom, there’s no doubt that teacher aides and tutors can help. These positions cost a lot less to fill, than fully-qualified teachers.
Also, if the way classrooms are managed, and “teaching” is done; larger (about where they are now) class sizes can be better than smaller ones. Tax-chick mentions the negative correlation in post # 11. In other words, work smarter (not only teachers — the whole public-education monopoly needs to work smarter).
Class size became an issue, when the demographics (declining birth rates) reduced the number of “clients” for the school system — while the universities and teacher colleges continue to crank out ever more teachers. The newly-minted teachers want a job (naturally); and the unions want their dues (naturally) — in neither case is quality of education actually a concern.
Thank you for your service, Cyclone.
I have no doubt that for single class when individuals are missing from that class it changes the dynamics of that class. I also suspect that when you get a 50% drop in the number of people attending your class, that the demographics of those missing are not the same as the demographics of those that remain. further, in the short-term a drop in the number of students in the classroom in and of itself will make it more intimate whether that drop is from 31 to 15, or from 500 to 150 (I’ve actually had instructors in a theater sized class play up on that to great effect).
Part of the problem with assessing the overall effect, is that it doesn’t address what’s going on with the children that were moved out of your class. How is their learning going? And will the effect you see on a day-to-day basis for a short term drop in class-size carry through in the long term? Studies to date tend to show that they do not.
All else being equal, smaller classes should provide somewhat better results. But that is not the case. The small group with the good teacher does well while the other small groups with poorer teachers flounder. But that’s still better than the good teacher quitting and all the kids being stuck with poor teachers.
There is zero evidence that throwing more money at Education will improve anything!
Break the education monopoly.
” but I would like to see if one could follow two groups of students from 9 thru 12 grade, Id be willing to bet that the smaller class size group would have higher test scores”
Those studies have been done. What they show is that generally the larger the class, the higher the success. Not what you would generally expect, but there are a number of different hypotheses as to why this might be the case. Some include teaching methods such as “teaching to the middle”. Another hypothesis is the dilution of the teacher candidate pool.
I should probably turn off auto correct
“The newly-minted teachers want a job (naturally); and the unions want their dues (naturally) in neither case is quality of education actually a concern.”
And that seems to apply especially when it comes to the minting of the teachers. Eek!
I invoked your name in my post #14, below. I meant to ping you then, as FR etiquette demands — I’m doing so now.
“below” s/b “above”
Yeah. I am generally in favor of larger class sizes, with more teachers aides. ...Though that really only becomes economical with truly large class sizes.
Our local school has a program where they pay about $10 an hour for people who have passed background checks and passed muster to provide some individualized simple help to the children. They tend to be people that teach in other parts of their lives, that don’t have education degrees but have some spare time such as from temporary unemployment or having kids all of school age and just spend a couple of days a week helping out during the school day but are able to be home as soon as their kids come back in the door.
“Also not all teachers are pro-union.”
Many I know are not pro-union. Most of those not only are not pro-union they *hate* dealing with the union and the regimented seniority and all that goes along with it.
You are absolutely correct. Education will improve when discipline and educated teachers are returned to classrooms.
“Also not all teachers are pro-union.”
Very true. I was referring to the union as an organization, acting in its own best interest. Those interests may, or may not always coincide with those of the teachers, or the students. The union only needs to have the support of 50% + 1 of the teachers.
Thank you. I’d forgotten about this thread, and there have been some interesting comments while I was out doing Real Life!