If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Salon)   Spending a lot of time trying to send your kids to schools with "smaller class sizes?" Guess what; class size doesn't matter. At least, not until you get to college   (salon.com) divider line 106
    More: PSA  
•       •       •

4240 clicks; posted to Main » on 06 Aug 2011 at 10:58 PM (3 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



106 Comments   (+0 »)
   

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2011-08-06 06:37:02 PM  
This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms. It's political, not scientific. It's more about destroying unions and cutting costs than any real pedagogical reason.
 
2011-08-06 06:47:15 PM  

scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe.


As a teacher and a student, I can safely say this is bullshiat. I have schools with large and small class sizes. Guess which schools see better test results? Go on, take a wild guess.

Is it the schools where I get to spend about 5 minutes per kid per class, or the schools where I can't even walk to the back of the classroom because the aisles are too narrow?
 
2011-08-06 06:47:54 PM  
Hint: It's not the overcrowded classroom.
 
2011-08-06 06:54:46 PM  
FTFA: Conventional wisdom tell us that smaller class size is crucial for learning -- that kids of all ages learn more in smaller groups. And indeed, in the early years of schooling, there is some research to back this up.
[...]
In that study, kids in middle- size classrooms -- between eighteen and twenty- five kids per teacher -- also did slightly better than the kids in the very big classrooms. What we learn is that all things being equal, big classes aren't ideal -- medium and small-size ones are better.
[...]
Other more formally designed experiments in class size provide us with further clues as to who may benefit from smaller classes. [...] In small classes, kids learned more. So in that way, small classes were successful.
[...]
And even though the rate of learning did not continue to accelerate, the positive effects of small class size were long-lasting. When the kids who were assigned to small classes in kindergarten through third grade got to high school, they were earning higher grades and were more likely to complete advanced academic classes, take college admissions tests, and graduate.
 
2011-08-06 06:56:49 PM  
Ah, NOW TFA finally gets to its 'but' part.
 
2011-08-06 06:58:09 PM  
So.. TFA indicates that small class sizes have been shown to be helpful, and have long-lasting benefits, but that other stuff might also be important so fark it.
 
2011-08-06 07:03:51 PM  

scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms. It's political, not scientific. It's more about destroying unions and cutting costs than any real pedagogical reason.


The last study I saw said that class size doesn't make an impact until you get it down around 15 or so. Going from 30 to 25 students doesn't make a difference? I can understand that. But we're not willing to make the changes to the educational system necessary to get to this level, in part because we've got this notion of "throwing money" at education. And yes, there is waste in the system, but the only actual fixes will require significant labor and capital.
 
2011-08-06 07:43:29 PM  
I don't care what teachers think. There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...it says "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who destroy our country? Teacher unions." They perpetuate this idea that learning will make you more intelligent and that is simply not true. Look at our President. He is much too overeducated to government. If we stop educating our children, we will start creating jobs and start reducing tax burdens on our wealthiest citizens. Jobs create money, not books. Why can't you bookhead liberals figure this out?
 
2011-08-06 07:52:31 PM  

Mike_LowELL: There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee..


lulz

/not getting fooled again
 
2011-08-06 08:05:16 PM  

Relatively Obscure: So.. TFA indicates that small class sizes have been shown to be helpful, and have long-lasting benefits, but that other stuff might also be important so fark it.


And that it's a linear benefit not a compounding one.
 
2011-08-06 08:13:30 PM  

Mike_LowELL: He is much too overeducated to government


2/10 - way too obvious but I gave you 2 points for being entertaining. You might catch some bites anyways. Not everyone on fark is as jaded as I am.
 
2011-08-06 08:23:50 PM  

Mike_LowELL: . Jobs create money, not books.


www.datzhott.com
 
2011-08-06 10:12:51 PM  
Wait - thirty is their "large" number?

Bwahaha. I was routinely in classes with 50 kids, we sat two to a desk (double desks) and the room was full. Yay for the secondary baby boomlet.

/had school on Saturdays too
 
2011-08-06 10:14:47 PM  
Bigger class sizes? Okay, fine. Then stop prescribing curriculum and give the kids and teachers more control over it.
 
2011-08-06 11:01:56 PM  
It matters to the teacher.
 
2011-08-06 11:02:22 PM  

scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms.


This. I'd imagine the schools would get more funding for more kids, and have to spend less on teaching staff.
 
2011-08-06 11:02:25 PM  
BRING BACK CLASS SORTING
 
2011-08-06 11:04:13 PM  

Mike_LowELL: I don't care what teachers think. There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...it says "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who destroy our country? Teacher unions." They perpetuate this idea that learning will make you more intelligent and that is simply not true. Look at our President. He is much too overeducated to government. If we stop educating our children, we will start creating jobs and start reducing tax burdens on our wealthiest citizens. Jobs create money, not books. Why can't you bookhead liberals figure this out?


img156.imageshack.us
 
2011-08-06 11:04:40 PM  
Below 4rd grade? Absolutely several major studies have shown k-3 class size to be hugely important. After that, meh, its really not.
 
2011-08-06 11:05:32 PM  

Mike_LowELL: I don't care what teachers think. There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...it says "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who destroy our country? Teacher unions." They perpetuate this idea that learning will make you more intelligent and that is simply not true. Look at our President. He is much too overeducated to government. If we stop educating our children, we will start creating jobs and start reducing tax burdens on our wealthiest citizens. Jobs create money, not books. Why can't you bookhead liberals figure this out?


Mike img.ezinemark.com
 
2011-08-06 11:05:52 PM  
Those who can, teach. Those who can't, make laws about teaching.
 
2011-08-06 11:08:38 PM  
This is wrong. The Free Market has already decided.

All people who pay for private school pay much more for small class sizes. There for it is valuable and worth the money. Certainly that is obvious to any "scholar" who analyzes the data.
 
2011-08-06 11:11:35 PM  

Mike_LowELL: He is much too overeducated to government.


img10.imageshack.us
 
2011-08-06 11:12:02 PM  
One-on-one instruction time is only more valuable in societies that insist on treating every child as an individual and their peers as a distraction.

There is no relation between academic achievement and class sizes once you start comparing internationally. The countries consistently at the top of international achievement tend to have class sizes far bigger than ours, but incorporate teaching methods that provide group pressure to succeed -- a concept considered almost immoral, here.
 
2011-08-06 11:12:23 PM  

Shadyman: scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms.

This. I'd imagine the schools would get more funding for more kids, and have to spend less on teaching staff.


States cut funding at every turn.

Check local fire-code. My district is at 37. Odd number, but it is the average size of a district classroom. I did some research and OSHA would come down like a hammer in my district.

Class size matters in the lower grades where behavior must be watched. Class size does not compare to the motivations of the students. 15 kids who don't like the subject are just as bad as 40; and vice versa.

The one good thing about a smaller class is more meaningful assessments. You tend to see more multiple choice assessments with larger classes. I'm switching to short-answer/essay next year, multiple-choice just cheats them...
 
2011-08-06 11:13:47 PM  

scotisle: This is the new farked up #$%* that they want you to believe. Usually it's pushed by someone who hasn't spent any time in a classroom. Is class size the only factor? No. But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty. This is all part of a campaign to make it okay for schools to pack forty or fifty kids into classrooms. It's political, not scientific. It's more about destroying unions and cutting costs than any real pedagogical reason.


Yeah, this is nicely self-serving bullshiat.

Why would it not matter in grade school, yet suddenly matter in college?

I know! Let's send more money to colleges.
 
2011-08-06 11:16:45 PM  
I never understood why they don't start off with the small class sizes and then gradually increase them. I don't mean like 20 kids in your kintergarten class, I mean like 5... then 7 in grade 1, then 12 then 15 then 20 etc.

It seems apparent that younger kids generally deal well with smaller groups and more direct interaction and then as they get older are able to handle more self guided activities. I would argue that if we took this approach, it would be easy to support highschool classes of extremely large (college) sizes because the kids wouldn't all be of such varying apptitudes.
 
2011-08-06 11:17:21 PM  

Shadyman: This. I'd imagine the schools would get more funding for more kids, and have to spend less on teaching staff.


Pretty much. More kids in attendance=more govt. money. And if your teacher can't teach 50 kids to regurgitate info on standardized tests? Fire him/her for some fresh college grad and repeat in 2-3 years. You'll have as high an over turn rate as McDonalds. Which is convenient, when all the high school grads and drop outs will be working there, anyway.
 
2011-08-06 11:27:10 PM  
FTF WEBSITE QUOTED...

"Technical Notes;

Student/teacher ratios do not provide a direct measure of class size. The ratio is determined by dividing the total number of full-time-equivalent teachers into the total student enrollment. These teachers include classroom teachers; prekindergarten teachers in some elementary schools; art, music, and physical education teachers; and teachers who do not teach regular classes every period of the day. Teachers are reported in full-time-equivalent (FTE) units. This is the amount of time required to perform an assignment stated as a proportion of a full-time position. It is computed by dividing the amount of time an individual is employed by the time normally required for a full-time position. This analysis excludes schools that did not report both enrollment and teacher data. Regular schools include all schools except special education schools, vocational schools, and alternative schools"
 
2011-08-06 11:27:57 PM  
I stopped reading once the article quote Michelle Rhee -- the woman cheated to get her scores artificially high in her district, then bailed on her commitments once she realized that her short-term, extremist plans were going to nose-dive in the long-term.

Do large classrooms make a difference?

Yes -- do the math. If a teacher has 180 students and it takes 10 minutes to grade each test/paper, then you're talking 1800 minutes to grade every student (that's 30 hours for anyone not good with quick calculations). The average teacher is given 5 hours every week to do EVERYTHING outside the classroom -- grade, prepare, call parents, talk to administrators, write tests, tutor students, etc, etc, etc. It has now become standard practice in education that a teacher return graded work within one week (I've seen this pushed back to 1-3 days recently). Guess what they're doing with all of their free time?

The obvious retort to this is that a teacher should not be spending so much time grading assessments -- maybe they should give multiple choice tests instead of the show-your-work variety. Guess how well kids learn when all they have to do on a test is fill in a bubble?

In a nutshell, the argument that's really being made here is: We want our teachers to spend 14-16 hours of every week at work -- because that way, large class sizes won't matter since the instructor might've brushed the surface of all of those above duties in their every waking moment.

Crappy teachers will teach poorly no matter what the class size. And sadly, there are a number of these out there. We need to get rid of them, but that's a different argument entirely. I'd like to see some research on how much class size affects students when the teacher isn't working 60 -80 hours a week. Because therein lies the simple and short of it. Once the truly quality people realize how many hours they need to work in order to get a rather low paycheck, they head off to other careers. A few will stick it out, but not enough to improve the quality of education on a grade scale.

The simple fact is education is declining. Huge class sizes burn out teachers and scare good instructors away. There's a reason the field such an insane turnover. At some point we have to have a solution that doesn't begin and end with: Make the teachers do more work.
 
2011-08-06 11:28:28 PM  

flunk_your_mother: The one good thing about a smaller class is more meaningful assessments. You tend to see more multiple choice assessments with larger classes. I'm switching to short-answer/essay next year, multiple-choice just cheats them...


You can make some seriously decent (or mean, depending on POV) multiple choice tests, but it takes time that most places won't spend. Basically you have to solve the problem 5 kinds of actual common mistake wrong (to make the wrong answers) and then have to make an answer guide explaining just exactly where you went wrong to get each of those wrong answers. Works well for engineering type problems, but pain in the ASS to make, so most places don't.

I remember a lot of tests that weren't multiple choice but were machine scored (mostly practice tests for high school and college entrance exams) where the answer was some number (like "2750"), and then you had to bubble in the number on a form similar to how you bubble in your name on the SAT. Sucky part there is you can't get any credit for partial answers. Good human-graded stuff, even if you get the wrong answer you can get some points for approaching the problem the right way and using good logic until you derail halfway through.

When it came to language though it was all about "answer this in 100 characters or less" and you had to get as close to 100 characters without going over as possible, AND of course you'd be marked off for any stupid errors you made in writing out the answer (you left a dot off some letter? Points off). That stuff all has to be graded by humans.
 
2011-08-06 11:32:06 PM  
It's all demographics. I was lucky enough to be born in the depths of the baby bust. So the infrastructure that had been built to teach the boomers was still there. My class sizes throughout school varied between around 18-26 (judging by old class photos).

Of course some bright sparks in educational administration decided that rolls were too small at some schools and closed them. They didn't open them again when the boomlet of the late 1990s started going to school early last decade.
 
2011-08-06 11:33:31 PM  

ChrisDe: Those who can, teach. Those who can't, make laws about teaching.


THIS

Also, as a teacher, I am calling absolute bullshiat on the article that I DFR.
 
2011-08-06 11:33:36 PM  

scotisle: But a teacher with seven students is going to give a lot more time to your kid than one with thirty.


This. One-on-one time is a BIG deal. Your kid has a question? In a class of 7 that question is answered a LOT faster, clearer, and with more care and time given to it.

Your kid has a question in a class of 45? Well so do 6 other kids and you'll have to hope yours gets randomly picked otherwise he'll have to sit there confused until the end of class and hope you have the patience to teach him what he didn't pick up in school that night when he's doing his homework.
 
2011-08-06 11:37:26 PM  
Funny, my girlfriend in college said size doesn't matter too.
 
2011-08-06 11:43:08 PM  
I withdrew from public school and was privately tutored in classes of roughly 3-5 students. I completed 4 years of highschool in 2 years, going 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Yes, 9 hours a week.

...and the shiat was easy. Personal interaction goes a long way.
 
2011-08-06 11:43:29 PM  

stuhayes2010: Funny, my girlfriend in college said size doesn't matter too.


jwa.org

Dr. Ruth Westheimer agrees?
 
2011-08-06 11:44:31 PM  

Alonjar: I withdrew from public school and was privately tutored in classes of roughly 3-5 students. I completed 4 years of highschool in 2 years, going 3 hours a day, 3 days a week. Yes, 9 hours a week.

...and the shiat was easy. Personal interaction goes a long way.



Yup.
 
2011-08-06 11:46:47 PM  
"This article was adapted from the new book "The Good School: How Smart Parents Get Their Kids the Education They Deserve," available Aug. 16"

forgot to add that...

'Children who attended elementary school in affluent Wilmette, Illinois, for example, may have been educated in classes that had fifteen kids and one teacher and showed huge gains in their academic achievement compared to kids in larger classes in nearby inner-city Chicago. But was it the class size or the opportunities that went along with privilege that made the difference?"


forums.randi.org

I'M JUST ASKING QUESTIONS!
hot like a press
 
rpl
2011-08-06 11:50:45 PM  
Back in the '70s, the USSR had fished some species of herring to [near?] extinction. Overnight, the newspapers were flooded with articles on how herring is bad for you and singing praises to the dietary and culinary properties of some other type of fish (which no one had even heard of up until this point and which, surprise surprise, appeared immediately afterwards as the replacement).

But hey, that was back in our little hell where the government, the media and business were monolithically intertwined - not at all like with you guys.
 
2011-08-06 11:51:50 PM  
Most of your child's learning has taken place before the third grade. If you are a stupid, television droid with no critical thinking skills, your child is screwed. By YOU.
 
2011-08-06 11:54:26 PM  

Kumana Wanalaia: BRING BACK CLASS SORTING


images.wikia.com
Approves.
 
2011-08-06 11:54:58 PM  
When I was growing up, we had 13 in our class from 1st until 8th grade. It did nothing but give us time to perfect our rampant cheating schemes. It's not like we were learning science or anything, mind you, it was an evangelical Christian school.
 
2011-08-06 11:57:09 PM  
Class size doesn't matter?

Is that why I'd be perfectly willing, hell farking ecstatic, to teach double the number of classes if I could split my current classes into two sections? I'd even do it for the same pay. Any my largest class is 34, which, according to some, isn't that big. There certainly are bigger out there. In my personal experience, the magic maximum number is around 20 students.
 
2011-08-06 11:59:01 PM  
 
2011-08-07 12:00:43 AM  
I really never understood that "smaller class size" shiat. As long as 50 students aren't being crammed in the same room, I don't care what the class size is.
 
2011-08-07 12:03:17 AM  
But there is a substantial body of research to suggest that kids in small classes don't necessarily learn more.

And? This is only new information to people not dumb enough to think that the quality of a child's education rests on only a single aspect of that experience.

"Don't necessarily" and "doesn't" are pretty different concepts.
 
2011-08-07 12:08:24 AM  

Mike_LowELL: I don't care what teachers think. There's an old saying here in Tennessee...I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee...it says "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach. Those who destroy our country? Teacher unions." They perpetuate this idea that learning will make you more intelligent and that is simply not true. Look at our President. He is much too overeducated to government. If we stop educating our children, we will start creating jobs and start reducing tax burdens on our wealthiest citizens. Jobs create money, not books. Why can't you bookhead liberals figure this out?

5/10, you had me through the entire first half.
 
2011-08-07 12:09:43 AM  
Class size is irrelevant to meet the criteria which we consider to be successful.

Namely, glorified daycare.
 
2011-08-07 12:10:42 AM  
My dad's been a teacher for over 30 years. I let him read TFA. He's still laughing.

/Subby is a bad person, and he/she should feel bad.
 
Displayed 50 of 106 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all



This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »
On Twitter





In Other Media


  1. Links are submitted by members of the Fark community.

  2. When community members submit a link, they also write a custom headline for the story.

  3. Other Farkers comment on the links. This is the number of comments. Click here to read them.

  4. Click here to submit a link.

Report