Thursday, October 11, 2007

What REALLY happens to class size

After listening, time and again, to the convoluted concept that vouchers will reduce class size in Utah's public schools, I wanted to figure out a way to explain how class size really IS determined. Without the Oreo (registered trademark) cookies.

Then I came across this teacher's blog. It is the most succinct explanation of what really happens in Utah's schools, and is based on direct experience. I am pasting the blog in below and including the link. I really hope you will share this widely, for it is the best explanation yet.

The Basics of Class Size - Or Why Vouchers Won't Make a Difference

"I thought I’d explain a bit how class sizes work for those who might believe that commercial with the Oreos the pro-voucher people made.

"Last year we had about 108 sixth grade students at our school. With that number we were able to have four sixth grade teachers, meaning there were about 27 students in each class. This year we are down to 100 sixth grade students. That does not mean that we now have four classes of 25 students. Instead it means we have three classes of 33 students.

"The number of teachers is not a fixed amount. It is determined by how many students there are in the school. So with fewer students in that grade, we were alloted money for fewer teachers.

"And the difference in the number of students wasn’t even that big from last year to this year. And if more sixth graders move into our school, it’s already past the date when we’d hire a new teacher, so the classes will just get bigger.

"So when students leave a public school to attend charter or private schools, it does not result in smaller class sizes. It can often result in larger class sizes. The only thing that would reduce class size would be to allocate more money for teachers so that more could be hired."

Read it here.

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