Drooling on the Pillow

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Class Size 

Lenore Skenazy is a columnist for the Daily News who writes amusingly and is reliably liberal. I was impressed by her column this morning which strayed off the reservation to make the point that class size may not be the determining factor in the quality of education.
[T]eacher training matters even more than class size.
Good teaching "doesn't happen by osmosis," says Anna
Marie Carrillo, superintendent of District 2, one of the
city's highest-performing districts. Carrillo believes
effective, ongoing teacher training trumps pretty much
everything else.

"I would rather have a child in a classroom of 30 kids with
a supreme teacher than two classes of 15 with a teacher
who really doesn't have the expertise," she says.
One thing she doesn't discuss is the labor aspect of the issue. Teacher's unions are labor organizations and smaller classes means more members. That's not to say there is not value in small classes or that anyone who advocates them is simply out to pad the membership list, but it's a factor that needs to be part of the discussion. Unfortunately, the "It's for the kids!" trump card usually puts it to the side.
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