The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools. – D. Kirp

Kirp, David L.  “The Secret to Fixing Bad Schools.”  New York Times.  February 9, 2013.  Retrieved from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/the-secret-to-fixing-bad-schools.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

The school district in Union City NJ, has fixed their schools without charter schools and Teach for America recruits.  They did it with preschool, all day kindergarten, and teaching about community pride and respect.

What makes Union City remarkable is, paradoxically, the absence of pizazz. It hasn’t followed the herd by closing “underperforming” schools or giving the boot to hordes of teachers. No Teach for America recruits toil in its classrooms, and there are no charter schools.

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An open letter to President Obama about Romney’s class size. – L. Haimson

Haimson, Leonie.  Letter.  “An open letter to President Obama about Romney’s class size.”  Parents Across America.  May 25, 2012.  Retrieved from: http://parentsacrossamerica.org/2012/05/an-open-letter-to-president-obama-about-romneys-class-size-comments/

The Executive Director of Class Size Matters points out the hypocrisy of wealthy politicians and corporate reformers who claim large classes are no different than smaller ones despite the evidence to the contrary.

Yet there is no education reform that has more research backing than smaller classes, and certainly not online learning, which has never been shown to work to raise student achievement.  In contrast, class size reduction in the early grades is one of only four reforms cited by the Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of your own Department of Education, as having been proven to be effective through rigorous evidence; and there are literally scores of other controlled studies that show benefits from smaller classes in the middle and upper grades as well.

What 10,000 teachers think.

(March 20, 2012).  “What 10,000 Teachers Think”.  Join the Future.  Retrieved from: http://jointhefuture.org/blog/733-what-10000-teachers-think

Join the future summarizes a survey of 10,000 teachers conducted by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundations.  The survey included topics such as class size, compensation, testing and evaluations.  Join the futures created several graphs to illustrate the findings of the survey.

Parents Want Small Class Size

“Parents Want Small Class Size.”  Join the Future.  Retrieved on February 24, 2012 from http://jointhefuture.org/blog/682-parents-want-small-class-sizes

In an analysis of a StateImpactOhio article on school vouchers the author points out that parents are choosing other schools because some cash-strapped public schools are unable to provide common sense learning situations and this leads to a cycle of a deteriorating school system.

Vouchers are setting up a vicious economic cycle. Parents want smaller class sizes, so some choose to use vouchers to enroll their children into smaller schools, which subtracts money from the struggling public schools reducing their ability to maintain smaller classes, which in turn causes more parents to seek schools with smaller classes via vouchers.

Benefits of Smaller Class Sizes – N. Western

Western, Nicholas. Letter. Connection Newspapers. “Benefit of Smaller Class Sizes.” February 1, 2012. http://www.connectionnewspapers.com/news/2012/feb/01/letter-benefits-smaller-class-sizes/

A high school sophomore writes about the benefits of smaller class sizes including increased student learning, better student-teacher relationships, and school morale.

According to the Center for Public Education, Wisconsin’s Student Achievement Guarantee in Education program saw that “students in grades 1-3 in SAGE classrooms scored significantly higher…than students in traditional classrooms.” In addition, students in the smaller classes had lower average pretest scores, but showed significantly higher scores on the post-test. Tennessee’s Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio found that gains in student achievement from classes of 13 to 17 students were typically twice as large for poor and African-American students, historically underachieving demographics. In addition, the gains for all students persisted for years after said students were placed back in regular-sized classrooms. Florida has also seen great improvements in student achievement because of constitutionally-required class size limits that limit classes for grades K through 3 of 18, 3 through 8 of 22, and 9 through 12 of 25. Florida increased its NAEP score by seven points in fourth grade reading between 2003 and 2011, while Virginia increased it by only three points in the same period.

The Wisdom of Class-Size Reduction – E. Graue et.al.

Graue, Elizabeth et.al. “The Wisdom of Class-Size Reduction.” American Educational Research Journal, September 2007, Vol. 44, No. 3. Retrieved by Maureen Baker. http://aer.sagepub.com/cgi/content/abstract/44/3/670

Benefits of small class size go beyond the mere academic. Smaller class sizes impact psychological health and well-being, better cognitive performance, critical thinking, and even higher success rates and career gains later in life.

The Definitive Article of Class Size – A. Horning

“The Definitive Article of Class Size.” Horning, Alice. WPA: Writing Program Administration Volume 31, Numbers 1-2, Fall/Winter 2007 © Council of Writing Program Administrators. Full Text: http://wpacouncil.org/archives/31n1-2/31n1-2horning.pdf

This article has as its focus the impact of class size on writing instruction. A good summarizing quote from the article:

“Ultimately, writing and the critical reading that is one of its essential components underlies virtually all courses in college; success in college is tied to success in writing, taught well in small classes.”