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View Diary: The problem with NBC's Education Nation -  where are the voices of parents and teachers? (279 comments)

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  •  So then we just give up? nt (0+ / 0-)
    •  How about providing the required (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      JanL, CParis, BoxNDox, m00finsan, Azazello

      resources. I have classes with 38 students. Should I be expected to teach 6 classes of 38 students, provide meaningful and timely feedback regarding their strengths and weaknesses, and remain dynamic, energized, and personally committed to the success of each student?

      •  Who is advocating for that? nt (0+ / 0-)
        •  The folks who cheerlead for (6+ / 0-)

          "accountability". My school board approved a policy that allows them to fire me for low test scores. Yet, my classes are overcrowded and students enter my class reading two or three grade levels behind. This is how accountability shapes up in my district.

          •  I cheerlead for accountability... (0+ / 0-)

            you missed my point.  Why aren't the unions advocating for this as forcefully as they advocate for tenure or against pay based on assessment?  They would have natural allies in parents and students.  However, it has been shown that lower class sizes may not be the answer.

            •  Anytime I hear someone say (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              sandblaster, JanL, esquimaux, m00finsan

              that lowering class size is not the answer I want to puke. Is it the ONLY answer? Of course not. But nobody should be surprised when little Johnny can't write well if he is mixed in with another 210 students on his English teacher's roster. maybe you missed my point so I will attempt to clarify.

              There are many factors that contribute to a student's ability to succeed in school. Some of the really important factors are outside the teacher's realm of control. Thus, accountability based on test scores is unfair to teachers. As for unions and their focus for advocacy - I believe tenure was originally put in place to protect teachers from the political whims of a particular body of leaders. Yet, as I stated before, in my district, a teacher, tenured or not, can be fired for low test scores. As for creating a salary structure that is fair for teachers - I am all for it. Paying teachers for high test scores would not be fair.

              •  Puke away... (0+ / 0-)

                I read a study that said it didn't.  That was contraintuitive to me as well.  It was posted on one of the diaries here.  

                We will agree to disagree on how much is within the teacher's realm of control.  

                •  I don't know what there could be to disagree (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandblaster, Azazello


                  If a student does not get proper nutrition, sleep, or emotional support, it impacts their performance. I really can't control how much nurturing and support a kid receives at home. You may disagree. Go for it.

                •  and so you universalize from one study (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  sandblaster, cassidy3

                  that agrees with a position you already hold?

                  Have you read possible responses to that study that maybe point out how it has a flawed methodology, or systematically excludes data that would counter its conclusions?

                  Reducing class size from 30 to 28 really does not make a difference  Reducing it from 40 to 28 usually does.

                  If attempting teach reading or writing, having more than 30 students in one class is very ineffective.

                  Oh, and if class size is so unimportant, why do so many private schools advertise directly on their class size?  Why is one key factor in the US News rating of colleges/universities the percentage of class with less than 20 students.

                  Merely decreasing class size without providing appropriately trained teachers for the additional classes thereby created is of course not effective.

                  But if one is able to provide quality teachers, most studies on reduced class size demonstrate increased learning and on task behavior.  That has been true for many years and through many studies.

                  "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                  by teacherken on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 09:50:54 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Tennessee STARS (0+ / 0-)

                    Over 7,000 students in 79 schools were randomly assigned into one of three interventions: small class (13 to 17 students per teacher), regular class (22 to 25 students per teacher), and regular-with-aide class (22 to 25 students with a full-time teacher's aide).  Classroom teachers were also randomly assigned to the classes they would teach. The interventions were initiated as the students entered school in kindergarten and continued through third grade.

                    A significantly larger percent of small-class students (52.9%) versus students who had attended regular (49.1%) and regular/aide (48.0%) classes passed the TCE Language requirement at grade 8.

                    The same was true for the mathematics requirement, where 36.4% of the small-class students passed versus 32.3% of the regular class and 30.3% of the regular/aide class students.


                    For about 50% more money in four years of regular education one can get 20% more pass grades in math and 10% more pass grades in language skills.

                    The somewhat better language skills have some economic value, but I suspect better math skills probably have very little economic or even practical value to society in the age of debit/credit cards and tax software programs.

                    The average young American might be better off given the increased cost per student in a trust fund.

                    A man in Chattanooga once asked me for money. I thought he was crazy. After a minute I realized he simply lacked teeth. I think he said false teeth would cost $300.

                    •  I am quite well aware of STARS (0+ / 0-)

                      having referred to it in one of my first published pieces about a decade ago

                      there are limitations to the study, and to generally apply the results without regard to the limitations is simply wrong.

                      "what the best and wisest parent wants for his child is what we should want for all the children of the community" - John Dewey

                      by teacherken on Sun Sep 19, 2010 at 06:05:07 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

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