Monday, October 09, 2006

Cutting Class Sizes

ProfessorBainbridge blogged Here in California the teacher's unions and the educational establishment want to spend billions more to cut class sizes. Teachers unions love this sort of thing, because it means more teachers and, thus, more union dues. But is it a good deal for taxpayers? Lance Izumi and Rachel Chaney of PRI say no:

A state-sponsored consortium of top research organizations analyzed the [existing classroom size reduction (CSR)] program and found no association between the total number of years a student had been in reduced size classes and differences in academic achievement. Further, there's no evidence that CSR helps at upper grade levels.
They argue:
Good teachers are an essential element of good education. With a smart and effective teacher, students will learn regardless of class size. With an ignorant or incompetent teacher, students won't learn even if there are only five in a classroom. Teachers can't teach what they themselves don't know. Rather than class-size reduction, Californians should focus on how we educate and produce our teachers.
Of course, that would mean accountability and standards, which is the last thing the teachers unions want.
ROFL. Actually they fight any effort that would delivery accountability OR standards, particularly accountability.
And, of course, in my capacity as a fellow educator, I can't blame them,
After reading Professor Brainbridge frequently, I assure you he would have no problems with any accountability standards that might be imposed.
but as a taxpayer whose day job is educating the product of California K-12 schools, ....
Amen to that, Professor. I suspect it might be nice to get a class of students that can really read, write, and think for themselves.

2 comments:

Greta (hooah wife) said...

Class size is one thing, quality of students is another. Having taught in California in jam packed classrooms, I can tell you it is detrimental to a good education. You get one child who is emotionally disturbed & your whole class dynamics change. You have kids trying to share a textbook - a mess. As I would love to see the abolishment of teacher's unions for governement schools - this may be one fight worth fighting for.

Don Singleton said...

Class size is one thing, quality of students is another. Having taught in California in jam packed classrooms, I can tell you it is detrimental to a good education.

Smaller classes are frequently better, but I would rather be in a large class with an excellent teacher, than in a small class with a Teacher's Assistant that could not teach.

You get one child who is emotionally disturbed & your whole class dynamics change.

But one emotionally disturbed student would disrupt a class of 5 students, and the other 4 would suffer.

You have kids trying to share a textbook - a mess.

But if you did not spend all of your money paying for more teachers to get smaller classes, you might be able to afford textbooks and other supplies for all.

As I would love to see the abolishment of teacher's unions for governement schools - this may be one fight worth fighting for.

I certainly agree to that.