Skip to main content

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

Comment Preferences

  •  I'm 1000% behind increasing $$$ for inner city (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cassidy3, Azazello

    schools. And I hate the inequities in school funding brought on by typical urban demographics.

    But what I'm really against is blaming the teachers in the inner city schools for this sad state-of-affairs and suggesting that replacing them and their schools with some sort of private enterprise is the solution to the problem.

    Why can't the focus of our efforts be on getting more resources for our urban public schools and doing what we can to support them and their mission?

    I believe that in every country the people themselves are more peaceably and liberally inclined than their governments. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by Blue Knight on Sat Sep 18, 2010 at 08:34:35 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Okay... (0+ / 0-)

      we can partially agree...

      But what I'm really against is blaming the teachers in the inner city schools for this sad state-of-affairs and suggesting that replacing them and their schools with some sort of private enterprise is the solution to the problem.

      I'm not because I'm sorry there are some really, really bad teachers in inner cities and no amount training is going to change their perceptions about their students.  A teacher can not effectively educate a child they deem uneducable and/or when a teacher has set low expectations for a child for things that are beyond their control.  I see this as a big factor that isn't nearly addressed at all and certainly not among teachers.  When studies and anecdotal stories show that children suffer when their teachers are unable to see their potential or relate to them.  But of course, the reason these kids don't learn is because of peer pressure as some would have you believe.

      •  I agree with you that students do (0+ / 0-)

        suffer when their teachers are unable to see their potential or relate to them. This brings me to the earlier point about class size. I suggested that large class size has a negative effect on student performance and you pointed out a study that said class size had no effect. It is impossible for teachers to relate to and see potential in all of their students when classes are so large.

        •  Here I have to offer a caution (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          cassidy3

          that by itself reducing class size is insufficient, and can on occasion be counterproductive.

          Let me be slightly arrogant.  I have 36, 38 and 39 in my 3 AP Government classes.  I am viewed as an excellent or better teacher.  I have a track record of being able to handle such large groups and give them a chance of success on the external measure (AP exam), getting them all through another external measure (state High School Assessment in Government), having them learn a lot, and most of them enjoying the class despite the fact I work their butts off.

          Suppose you mandate that the maximum class size will be 23.  That means you now have to address the needs of 44 of those students, the equivalent of two more sections.  But here are some of the ensuing problems

          1.  There is no other teacher in building properly trained to do AP Gov.
          1.  Even if there were, we have no space to put additional classrooms.  As bad as the result would be in AP Gov, it would be worse in AP Sciences where there is no lab space.
          1.  I cannot simply add another two sections of AP, because that would mean I would not be teaching the regular level classes where I am also very much needed.
          1.  If you say you cannot add the sections we then deny those 45 students the opportunity to take such a course.

          Those are just a few of the problems that can arise from mandating smaller class size without addressing the issues that flow therefrom.

          Would I prefer to have smaller classes?  You betcha.  I cannot get all the kids involved in each class discussion, which should be an important part of a college level class that should be far more than straight lecture.  I can get 39 student desks into my room.  I am unwilling to deny a kid the opportunity to take the class (and perhaps also because it is their one chance to experience the notorious Mr. B. as a teacher) so long as I can fit them in.

          Which is part of the reason I am shortly going to have to leave this diary (less of a problem now that it has scrolled off the Rec list) -  I had 3 AP students out yesterday.  The rest took their first test.  That means I have 113 free response questions to read and score to get their exam grades in (already processed the scantrons for the 20 MC questions) before we run their progress reports.  I need to check what I will address on the debrief of the exam, which affects the planning I must do for Monday.

          In general, smaller classes are good PROVIDED we have the physical facilities and the trained faculty so that students do not suffer merely because we are committed to some theoretical class size limit.  Unfortunately, too often we do not address the additional things we will need to make smaller classes effective.  

          "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 10:35:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site