Load highly effective teachers with higher class sizes, and pay these teachers more to do an increasingly impossible job—or invest in small class sizes as a way to attract highly effective teachers to hard-to-staff schools, and see dividends that pay off in higher student achievement as students progress through school.
Last week’s most-clicked ASCD SmartBrief story weighed the two sides of the class-size debate, as it’s playing out in Denver. Our position on this topic is neatly summed up by Canadian teacher Joe Bower.
RT @Joe_Bower: When people say class size doesn’t matter, they are talking about other people’s children.
To wit, Tom Boasberg, superintendent of Denver Public Schools, has magical thinking for other people’s children (but plays it safe by sending his own kids to school in more-affluent Boulder):
“If my children could have a teacher who was not as great in a class of 22, or a phenomenal teacher with 28 or 30, and you gave me that choice as a parent, it’s very clear I’d choose the latter,” said Boasberg.
Of course, small class sizes matter less if the teaching is terrible—but that’s true of any approach. Class size and teacher effectiveness is only an either / or question because of funding priorities.