Sunday, July 13, 2008

Which Comes First- Class Size Reduction or Teacher Quality?

There has been no more persistent theme of Ed Notes throughout our 12 years that teacher quality or effectiveness or whatever they are calling it today is affected by the number of children in a class. Of course to the "outcome" oriented gang, the sole judge is the test score, ignoring about 75% of what teachers do, from nurturing the whole child to scrubbing dirty desks.

Here's a nice video at AfterEd TV with Leonie Haimson, the NY Sun's Elizabeth Green, Columbia's Doug Ready (make sure to check out Leonie's comment if you hit the link.)

They talk about the study in California that showed that despite having to hire 3 times as many teachers due to class size reduction, the "quality" of all these teachers hired was about the same. But what do they mean by quality? Again it comes down to scores and I don't believe that is the relevant factor. Maybe we should use "number of kids that contact the teacher over a 5 year period after they graduate." It's as good a judge as any other factor. Lots more with Ready making some great points. I was at his presentation at Columbia a few months ago and his research is dynamite -it blows up the regressive ed reformers who push gimmicks like merit pay and ignore the class size issue.

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