Mary Ward, an English and ESL teacher at Granger High School in West Valley
City, said . . ."That's crap, that is absolute crap,"
she said.An English teacher said that? Oh dear. Is it too much to
ask an English teacher to come up with a better word than "crap" to
convey the same idea? I get her point but there might be a better way to
Sometimes profanity or near profanity gets the point across better. Mary Ward
said what needed to be said. I agree with her 100%.
Actually she's wrong...profanity or not. Studies have repeatedly shown
that class sizes have no effect on grades or test scores. Neither does teacher
pay. The country's best-paid teachers are in the worst-performing school
district...look it up. It's the North Slope Borough District in Alaska.I took classes in college with 600 students - I learned a ton and I was
very successful. Why? Because I wanted to be there and I wanted to learn. The
bottom line is kids who want to be there and want to learn will be successful,
no matter how big their class is or how much their teacher makes.A
panel of teachers arguing that teachers should be paid more...I wonder what
their motivation could be?
The districts and Legislature need to decrease the number of tests that we as
teachers are required to give. It has gotten to the point where just about all
we do is test or prepare to take a test. With SAGE coming on board this coming
year, our district will require us to give 2-3 state tests (SAGE), math block
and benchmark tests, monthly reading level tests, reading fluency tests,
language arts "performance task" tests, computerized reading tests 3
times each year, a computer-graded writing test that is a farce, keyboarding
tests, and I'm sure I have missed some. Come on.And if Aaron Osmond gets
his bill passed on removing mandatory school attendance, teacher pay will
continue to be tied to the test scores, even if students miss dozens of school
days per year.
Brave Sir Robin, the studies to which you refer were written by right wing think
tanks with an agenda of their own.Class size matters, else top prep
and private schools would have large class sizes. Teacher pay matters; CEOs and
politicians continually tell us that it takes high pay to attract talent.It takes really high pay to entice someone to teach on the North Slope
of Alaska. Consider part of it hardship pay.Our legislature often
passes legislation that does not actually help with the education of our
students. It's about time that they listened to actual teachers. I'm
not holding my breath, though, to wait for said legislators to actually heed.
I am totally amazed that any rational human being can come to the conclusion
that class size doesn't matter in k-12. It absolutely has to matter and it
shouldn't take too much to see why.Of course by the time you
get to college you can handle being in a class of 500 but to try to apply that
to elementary school is ludicrous at best.Also someone probably
needs a lesson in economics and supply and demand to understand why teachers in
Alaska would be the highest paid. It isn't that hard to understand.I'm all for smaller class sizes. I think that is where we need the
most help in Utah and where we could get the biggest bang for our buck.
I'd even agree to a small tax hike to pay for it.We love to
have children in this state. It's time we pay the piper.
@ Brave Sir RobinLook up stories on how Finland has is blowing away
the other countries (including those in Asia). 30 years ago they were average,
mediocre, just like the U.S. and fellow Scandanavian countries like Sweden. Now
Finland isn't. Sweden, just like the U.S. is still mediocre compared to
other countries. What did Finland do? Well, a small part of what they did was
teacher pay. Not the most important part. But a small part. Maybe not even
vital. Look up what they did and you decide what we can learn from them. Despite agreeing generally with what the teachers say here, I am not
convinced class size matters much past the point of 8 or 9. Great businesses
rarely or never have a low level leader (very akin to a trainer/teacher) over
more than 8 or 9 employees. Once you get past that point where you can develop
strong 1-1 relationships, the difference between 15 and 35 is probably smaller
than we'd care to admit. In both cases there are too many students for
great teaching and leadership.
I disagree on small class size being the most effective method of improving our
school system. I work with elementary age children in cub scouting. It does
not matter how large my scout group is. What matters is the support and
attitude of the home they live in. If the family has high expectations and
application of those expectations, the scout will excel. Only in rare
situations will a scout excel without the help of family support. They may
receive awards, but that is only part of the equation of success.
@Brave Sir RobinPlease come spend a day in my wife's
Kindergarten classroom where she has 25 students in the morning and 20 in the
afternoon. Just the additional five students makes a HUGE difference. Instead of citing "facts" go find some facts of your own. I love how the anti-education crowd never mentions about the time they
spent in a K-12 classroom working with actual students - they just quote
surveys. Get your hands dirty and get in the trenches and then tell us what you
Two fairly obvious conclusions:1. Those who think class size does
not make a difference (and then refer to university settings which are very
different to support their idea) have never taught in public school
classrooms.2. You can only get better teachers if there is adequate
competition for the jobs. Most of the time, schools employ the best they can
find. Without better incentives which should include increased pay AND smaller
classrooms, the candidate pool will continue to be very limited.
This is hitting the nail on the head."Changing curriculum and
program over and over doesn’t give us the chance to succeed"Some other ideas:* reduce paper work* hire more teacher
assistants* eliminate standardized tests* allow teachers to give
more accurate grades without fear of being evaluated as a poor teacher.
To "metisophia" actually it isn't "right wing" think tanks
that have found that class size does not matter.According to the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development the best educational
outcoems are in South Korea. In South Korea they have an average class size of
32 kids. Canada averages 26, Japan averages around 40, If class
size was so critical, how is it that South Korea can have such a large class and
have the best outcomes? Doesn't that imply that there is something else
that matters when it comes to teaching?
Dear Red Shirt:Please also note that students in South Korea and
Japan go regularly to private or near-private tutorial sessions. They also
have longer school days and longer school years than we have. Our school year
is 180 days; most countries that have better test results than ours have school
years of 200, 210 or 220 school days per year.
Being a teacher, I know from experience that class size makes an enormous
difference. During the past few years I have seen an increase in the number of
students who have emotional, physical, and individualized learning needs. It is
difficult to meet the needs of all the students when class sizes are large.
Sally from Kearns, I appreciate your insight. I must disagree, however. I also
work with children at my church, and the church/scout setting is quite different
from the school setting. In the school setting, we are with students for a large
portion of the day, 5 days a week. School is compulsory, therefore, and as a
result, there is a wide range of attitudes toward having to attend, from both
children and parents. Last, there are strict standards that must be met in
schooling. If these standards are not met, there are consequences. Family
support is very important (I would even say crucial), but what happens in the
classroom changes greatly depending on the size of the class.
To "Steve Cottrell" so then what you are saying is that class size is
not the key, but seems to be a cultural thing.I didn't say it
was a cultural thing that made the difference, but yes, success in school
depends on the importance that the parents give it.
Brave Sir Robin:Your example is quite humorous. You find a district
in Alaska that has the highest per pupil spending and then take the logical
conclusion because their test scores or whatever are low that spending in
education doesn't help. Well, so you all know, this district is in a very
remote area of Alaska where the population of the students are indigenous
peoples. Because of poverty and other cultural factors these students
don't come from an enriching educational environment. I imagine there is
high cost for educating students arises from attracting teachers to the area in
the first place, the vast space of the district to get students to and from
school, and I imagine that heating the school in harsh winter conditions
isn't cheap either. I can't imagine cutting funds will improve
their education. Money isn't the cure-all for education. In
some cases there is waste. But I wouldn't say Utah's public schools
are fraught with waste. I think Utah schools are doing a lot with very limited
resources. But I also have warned that Utah is on the precipice of education
disaster if we continue down this path.
So Sally, does your cub scot pack have 30 kids in it? Would it make a
difference then. I suspect it would. Even if they came from good families that
valued scouting. Even if you were really good at being a den leader. Of course
with the former, a teacher doesn't get all their students being from good
families that value education.
Let's forget that children are people, and mandate 300 days of school per
year with twelve hour days.We can out teach all those countries.
* If a car salesman sold you a lemon,--would you buy another car from him?* If a mechanic charged you a high price for a repair, and the car still
didn't work right. Would again, go to the same mechanic?If the
feds got us into a seventeen trillion dollar debt, and the economy worsened.
Would you trust them to educate our children?
The thinking that classroom sizes don't affect teaching or learning is
completely and utter "poo". If you have a classroom of 32 children and
many of late have some form of adhd/add. What you have is a heap of frustration
with teachers wondering why they chose to teach in the first place or early
burnout per say. That is too many. No one is equipped to deal with those
conditions on a daily non-stop basis. The assumption that children behave in
school is wrong. A teacher may be able to teach a classroom of 40 adults but put
that same teacher in a classroom of elementary aged children. It will be a
different story. Excuses can be made to minimize and push the issue aside. It is
what it is..our teachers need room to give "quality" to their skills,
and they need the resources to be provided for teaching our children including
classroom size. In our area the average classroom size is 32 for 4th, 5th, and
6th grades. Teachers need stress/pressures reduced for effective teaching and
handling of our children. Most people homeschool their children where I live. I