- To: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Subject: schools
- From: RingoShirl@aol.com
- Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 23:10:29 EDT
- Resent-Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 20:11:05 -0700 (PDT)
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I’m intrigued by the discussion concerning the relative importance of good
teachers and class size. I have attended meetings where research presented
supported the notion that “what matters most” is quality of instruction.
Clearly, one might expect that an excellent teacher with a large class will
be better than an ineffective teacher with a small class.
However, presenters with whom I have had the opportunity to discuss this
notion have not said that smaller classes are unimportant. My experience
would certainly support the relevance of the number of students per class.
Of course, there is not a magic number. For children with certain needs, a
class of ten can be challenging. In high school classes consisting of
students who are particularly interested and somewhat gifted in a discipline,
larger numbers can be managed effectively.
The Moscow District has made important decisions regarding class size. In
the mid-eighties, a group of high school teachers organized classes designed
to help students who were struggling in certain classes. There was grant
money to support the effort. The idea of the study was to focus upon
different learning styles of these students. Class sizes were small, and
there were instructional aides for support. In the final analysis, it became
clear that the opportunity to give these students more individual attention
was as important as individual learning styles. When the grant expired, the
superintendent and school board agreed to continue to support the effort.
In addition, there were decisions to keep class size small in the primary
grades to assure that the children would have important support early. There
was an attempt to keep certain English classes small so that teachers might
give writing assignments more frequently and have time to read them
critically. Children have benefited from these practices.
The point I try to make is that decisions have been made that may cost more
to implement, but are of educational value to the student. It is important
to continue to review practices in the schools, and constantly work to
improve. If the levy does not pass on April 23, the schools will stay open,
but they will be diminished. Please vote yes, and continue to support the
I recognize that taxpayers feel as though a great deal is being asked in a
short span of time. As a community, we need to assess our needs and
implement a reasonable plan for attaining them.
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