Orwell Award Announcement SusanOhanian.Org Home

[Susan notes: A teacher makes a plea against increasing class size. We can hope somebody is listening. The director of the Education Department's Office of Federal and State Accountability's rationale is classic corporatise: 'It is about giving districts the flexibility in terms of staffing.']

Published in Post and Courier

To the editor

Re: S.C. Education Department proposes eliminating class size maximums for many grades, subjects. Only someone who's never taught in Public Schools could fail to understand the true importance and ultimate effect of class size on the education of our most precious resource, our children (do the quality and effectiveness of service received in a restaurant vary, depending on whether your waiter has 10 tables or 15?). Usually, these people who say that class size doesn't matter, are educational dilettantes on their way to somewhere else. Most have attended college, some even have an advanced degree. They might have taught at, say, West Point. There, ultra-strict behavior monitoring, discipline, very-tight course supervision, make most types of misbehavior almost impossible. Also, they might have taught at schools where behavior problems were simply passed-off to another school. More children equals more troubled students.

In forming a group dealing with some aspect of education, at least one active-duty classroom, public school teacher is needed. Otherwise, your efforts are doomed.

Problem kids are not usually from military academies, charter schools, church schools, Asian and Scandinavian countries. They are more likely kids from poverty, who start out behind, needing to catch up.

The United States is one of few developed countries trying to educate the entire populace. Most developed countries don't have significant minority populations. Most don't, as well, have a significant poverty problem (which, in the United States, leaves a vast, wide income gap).

Why this push allowing larger classes now? Might it have something to do with economics? Let's see: You have 90 math students (30 for each teacher is not an easy load), being taught by three teachers. Then you raise the class size to 45: voila, you've cut one F.T.E. and "saved" that teacher's salary (careful: politicians are involved; you can bet that money will not stay in the educational system).

Flip Jones

This site contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of education issues vital to a democracy. We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. For more information click here. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.