WaPo: The Class Sizes Are Too Damn High

I’m tossing this up from The Washington Post because it’s absolute truth. People need to realize this and stop forcing teacher:student ratios of more than 1:20, because it’s just hurting students.

Every now and then someone in education policy (Arne Duncan) or education philanthropy (Bill Gates) or the media (Malcolm Gladwell) will say something about why class size isn’t really very important because a great teacher can handle a boatload of kids.

Not really.

A new review of the major research that has been conducted on class size by Northwestern University Associate Professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach and published by the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder makes clear that class size matters, and it matters a lot

And it’s incredibly irritating when someone says “good teachers can handle it!” and scores go down for the teachers who are really good. It’s simply not fair to them.

But, the education overlords in our local, state, and federal bureaucracies would prefer to focus on writing and introducing standards that teachers won’t really ever be trained to implement in their classrooms. Instead, they are given prescribed curricula that have what standards are in each lesson you teach and their purpose is never really explained.

I get and even at times support the implementation of standards in content areas, but it is impossible to guarantee a student can master those standards if they are competing with 25 or more other students for the teacher’s attention. How is that supposed to work?


Cross-posted from my own blog.

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