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Great Article! First - before I comment, I just want to say thank you for presenting the material you present to the group - it's thought-provoking, intelligent and allows for useful discussion.
I agree with the assessment that if you teach in the same way with 15 kids as you do with 25 kids smaller class size doesn't help. Research has shown this over and over - teachers will tell you that the "research is only test scores" by I have not been able to have anyone display that we are getting a bigger bang for our buck with small class sizes.
I also agree that unless you get the money to the schools in April, it cannot be spent well for the next school year - you cannot get your materials, reserve spots for teacher training and begin appropriate differentiated instruction without the money and materials.
I like the grant stimulus money idea - that is - that schools must "apply" for a grant with a specific plan, then follow up after the money is spent with the results of the implemented plan. If schools and teachers expect the car companies, banks, and government to do so, they should be held to the same standard.
And, I agree that the KIPP model brings in very young, very idealistic teachers, uses them up and burns them out so that they leave teaching altogether.
And finally, I wish Oakland Unified School District would send two or three representatives to the high functioning school districts: San Diego (high percentage of Hispanic students), Long Beach (high percentage of non-English speaking students), Elk Grove, Oak Grove and Rowland to find out what they are doing right. And finally, I wish Oakland Unified would do what works even if it is against the political correctness and power of the Board, Parents, Teachers' Union and Principals. We have so much evidence is contrary to what we are doing, yet we won't change - homework is helpful in Elementary School (NOT), Gifted students in a regular classroom scaffold up the others (NOT), and class size reduction helps kids learn more (NOT).48258
Thanks for the compliment. I do this because I have another 10 years to deal with LAUSD. I went through quite blindly with my first one, assuming all things were as good as they could be. My son was a roll-with-it kid, and he survived and is doing very well in college. But the budget crisis and now the budget cuts give me room for pause with my second grader.
I'm seeing in my district that people are ready to throw out Prop 13, and institute property tax increases, and you name it, and yet no one is willing to actually look at the spending and see if there is a new way to do things--or at the very least if there is a reason to question what's being done and might not be working.
I'm not worried so much about the class size increase, except with regard to classroom management. I see how it's hard to get 20 kids to focus on a lesson, and I dread how 24 will be. But obviously, when they went to 20:1 and there were multiple classes in the auditorium or the broom closet, that's obviously not helping, either.
I personally don't mind them using my daughter to model behavior and help other kids with directions, but at the same time, I can see her frustration with the wigglier ones and the ones who clearly aren't "getting it." I'm currently supplementing at home, but that's my choice. I can see how parents want the learning in school
Now if you can get a school with NO homework in elementary, let me know because I'd move. OK, maybe not, but silly dittos waste her time and mine. :)48259
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