School Class sizes / Teacher to stude...

School Class sizes / Teacher to student ratio's

Posted in the Robbins Forum

Since: Mar 11

Sunbright, TN

#1 Mar 21, 2011
Memorandum
To: Whom it may Concern
From: Jeremy Bond
Date: 03/21/2011
Subject: Class Size / Teacher to student ratio

It is a generally excepted well researched fact that smaller class sizes have a positive effect on individual academic achievement. There are numerous studies that have came to the previously stated conclusion. Listed below are a few of the research studies;

1. Student/Teacher Achievement Ratio (STAR) Study by state of Tennessee (1985 – 1989)
2. Student Achievement Guarantee in Education (SAGE) State of Wisconsin (1996 – 1997)
3. SERVE Center at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (several years, several studies)

The previously listed studies are only a tiny sampling of the studies that have been completed on this subject. The most telling aspect of all of these programs is that they all recommend at the very most an 18:1 ratio between students and teachers. One study in particular should be more interesting to us by virtue of where it was completed. The STAR Study was actually completed here in Tennessee. A summary of the findings of this study as well as some details as to how it was completed is found below;

STAR STUDY

Approximately 11,600 students and 1,300 teachers in 76 schools and 42 districts took part in the experiment, making the result- ing scientific evidence among the most credible available. At each grade level, kindergarten to third grade, a controlled study was conducted to test whether small classes of 13 to 17 students had a positive impact on student achievement (relative to regular-sized classes of 22 to 26 students). This study ran for 4 years.

FINDINGS SUMMARY

STAR data indicated that small classes led to statistically significant improvements in reading and mathematics, and benefits were greatest for students who started in small classes early (full-day
kindergarten or first grade).

ADDITIONAL FINDINGS:

1. At each grade level (K-3), and across all school locations, the small classes made the highest scores on the norm-referenced Stanford Achievement Test (SAT) and the criterion- referenced Basic Skills First Test (BSF). These results were both statistically and educationally significant.
2. Small classes located in the inner-city schools made the greatest gain scores on the SAT.
3. Small classes located in rural schools made the highest SAT and BSF scores.
4. The only consistent positive regular-aide class effect occurred in first grade.
5. Teachers reported that small classes helped them to better identify student needs, allowed them to provide more individual attention, and enabled them to effectively cover more material.

With all that said, we come to the actual heart of this ramble. I am wondering why we have a class at a local elementary school that has 30 students. I am sure that if the truth were known we probably have several in this county.
I know that staffing additional teaching positions is an expensive thing, however I do not think that there is any price I would say was “too much” for my child's education. I have been approached to sell thousands and thousands of units of overpriced items with a questionable usefulness during my children's tenure in our school system. I have never once been asked how the money should be spent or at the very least told what it was spent on. I am also, like most everyone else, a tax payer. I have no influence as to what is deemed worthy of the funding that we so willingly provide. I am however truly effected by it. Society itself it effected by the quality of the education our children, nieces, nephews, grand children and friends kids receive. I do not think it much to ask our school administration to crunch the numbers and come up with a way to try and eliminate any class size over say 18 students. We need to complain. Long and Loud. Nothing will happen unless we do.
Teacher2

Oneida, TN

#2 Mar 22, 2011
Well...I, as a teacher, am in whole-hearted agreement with you. Unfortunately, the powers-that-be do not look at these studies when funding teaching postions. It only stands to reason that the fewer the students in a class, the more time a teacher will have to work with each student. One person cannot be all that a child needs each day at school. We're given 20+ students and told that they all are to be on grade level, must master all the skills that the state dictates they meet, and then get them ready for TCAPs. We have parents that get upset if they have to spend time working on skills at home because they think it should all be done at school or because it interferes with extracurricular activities. We have parents that could care less about what their child is doing at school. We have parents that think their child should be making passing grades because "they knew it before they left the house" on test days. Let's face it...we are all failing our children. It takes ALL of us to help our children to succeed. It starts with administration providing enough teachers to prevent crowded classrooms; money available to provide the materials and equipment needed in the classrooms; teachers who are passionate about their jobs; parents who support the teaching staff and administrators; and, children that need to know how important education is in life.
My Opinion

Bybee, TN

#3 Mar 22, 2011
Learning begins at home.

Since: Mar 11

Sunbright, TN

#4 Mar 22, 2011
It does begin at home, but it cant be finished there. Everything in a child's environment effects their ability to learn. All aspects are important. That having been said the public school system is something we can regulate and control. There is no way to regulate s child's home life...unless that children are yours.
GetReal

Helenwood, TN

#5 Mar 30, 2011
A child's education does begin at home and continues throughout a child's school career. It takes caring teachers and parents determined to help their child succeed. When you talk about being able to regulate and control the public school system you are talking "out your ass!" The problem with public schools are that they have to take EVERY child. They have to take students that are belligerant, rude, disrespectful, lazy, etc. The sad part is that they come to school behaving this way. It's not something they have learned at school. It is something that they have learned at their mother's, or father's, knee. Parents are under the false assumption that their little Johnny or Sue can do no wrong and that if something has happened at school, then it must have been someone else's fault. I wouldn't swear that my child would or wouldn't do when away from me. I do hope that they know, because they have heard it enough from me, that school is where they should be on their best behavior because if they get into trouble at school, then their butts are mine once they get home. I don't presume to tell my childrens' teachers how to do their job. Each teacher in our county is highly qualified by the state. I don't want someone telling me how to do my job, so I don't try to tell them how to do theirs. I am more than willing to help them to teach my child all they need to know. I attend all school functions that pertain to my children. I talk to my children's teachers every week. I support them in any way that I can. So instead of bellyaching and bitching, try supporting the people that are working to help your child to be successful and productive members of society.
JB toughts wrote:
It does begin at home, but it cant be finished there. Everything in a child's environment effects their ability to learn. All aspects are important. That having been said the public school system is something we can regulate and control. There is no way to regulate s child's home life...unless that children are yours.

Since: Mar 11

Oakdale, TN

#6 Mar 31, 2011
Citing the public schools weakness as having to take EVERY CHILD sounds like you are saying that we should shun specific children for the good of the community, I can not stand by that logic at all. Who would you have stand in judgement of the prospective obsolete children? Would there be lines of drab grey families standing outside of the offices of the grand inquisitor tearfully awaiting their judgement of worth?

I have been blessed to have children that do not get in trouble and act respectfully the way they should. However, some children do not get that at home. We can not just pull the plug on them because they are difficult. I work adult counseling for the state, I have seen what happens to the kids that were dropped from everyones radar because they were too much trouble.

Also I was not attacking the teachers or the school system. I am merely putting words to a complaint that several teachers have made to me about school class size. Not once did I say anything about teachers not doing their job. I merely stated that the administrators of the schools and the school board members need to employ enough teachers to adequately assist all of the children who are in the public school system.

I would also like to add that I have never been able to "talk" out of my ass..I was able to breathe out of my ears once, but I cant do it on command.
GetReal

Wartburg, TN

#7 Apr 1, 2011
One education does not fit all. Every child is worthy of our time and attention and deserving of the best education that can be given them. BUT...teachers are not trained to meet the needs of EVERY student. If my child were to be blind or deaf or have a handicap that makes it impossible for them to learn in a regular public education classroom, I would want them to be in a school that best meets THEIR needs. It's not a matter of who is "deserving" an education, but a matter of what type of environment best meets the need of each individual child. Mr. SmartyPants, did you know that teachers are only required to take ONE course in special education as an undergraduate? ONE course does not make a special education teacher. But for the record...children that are a constant distraction in the classroom, should not be allowed to disrupt the learning of others. If a teacher is having to spend half their time addressing the inappropriate behavior of one (or more in some cases) student, how is that fair to the other students who are acting in an appropriate manner? I don't think it's fair that my child has to be in a classroom where one of her classmates is, more often than not, throwing his chair, pencils, books, etc. Nor do I appreciate the curse words that spew from his mouth on a DAILY basis. We can't keep making excuses for these types of behaviors. So again, it's not one education for all, it's what situation best meets the need of each student. It's not about "pulling the plug on difficult children," it's about meeting their needs. You may be adult counseler, but I happen to have three degrees in education. I know exactly what I am talking about as a parent and a teacher.
JB toughts wrote:
Citing the public schools weakness as having to take EVERY CHILD sounds like you are saying that we should shun specific children for the good of the community, I can not stand by that logic at all. Who would you have stand in judgement of the prospective obsolete children? Would there be lines of drab grey families standing outside of the offices of the grand inquisitor tearfully awaiting their judgement of worth?
I have been blessed to have children that do not get in trouble and act respectfully the way they should. However, some children do not get that at home. We can not just pull the plug on them because they are difficult. I work adult counseling for the state, I have seen what happens to the kids that were dropped from everyones radar because they were too much trouble.
Also I was not attacking the teachers or the school system. I am merely putting words to a complaint that several teachers have made to me about school class size. Not once did I say anything about teachers not doing their job. I merely stated that the administrators of the schools and the school board members need to employ enough teachers to adequately assist all of the children who are in the public school system.
I would also like to add that I have never been able to "talk" out of my ass..I was able to breathe out of my ears once, but I cant do it on command.

Since: Mar 11

Oakdale, TN

#8 Apr 1, 2011
I do not disagree with you on any of the statements that you just made. I am not even sure that we ever disagreed.

I am not defending children that need good old fashioned discipline. My original point was that the people that decide the actual funding need to pay attention to class size to ensure that there is an environment that is conducive to learning for all. You bring up a good point that they also have to try and ensure that the teachers are better equipped to handle the special needs kids or setup a program in that protects / fills the needs of the special needs kids as well as the other students.

I too am plagued with the actions of a child in one of my kids classes who is repeatedly disruptive, vile and abusive. My daughter has been hit, called horrible names and has had awful things done to her by this child. I have complained, my wife has complained and others have too. Nothing has been done, and nothing will be done as far as I can tell. Adult offenders and Juveniles are not allowed to act in this matter. As far as I see it, the child is guilty of assault and defamation, but I digress.

I honestly would like to pen a masterpiece here but I do not disagree with any of your points...

I am happy that you know your way around the education system and I am sure that your three degrees come in handy. I was not attempting to belittle you with my smart ass remarks, I was merely trying to diffuse the situation with a little levity. I had been accused of talking out of my ass and bellyaching / bitching. The last thing that I wanted to have happen was to have a flame off over a very important topic.

The only thing I can think to say is well played or good game!
GetReal

Oneida, TN

#9 Apr 3, 2011
I don't have an answer as to why it seems that teachers, and the school system, has it's hands tied when it comes to dealing with difficult students. I remember my dad telling stories of kids being sent to a special school (Boys' Town) for behavior problems when he was in elementary school. I think that it is ridiculous to keep sending the same kids to in-school suspension, detention hall, or out-of-school suspension on a weekly basis. There has to be something else for them. It might be that counseling, boot camp, or some other training facility could be a solution. Most of them sit back at laugh because they know that that is all that can be done to them. As a parent, I can assure you that it would only take once for my child(ren). If something is not done to address these problems now, just imagine what it will be like when they are grown.

Since: Mar 11

Oakdale, TN

#10 Apr 3, 2011
I'v Seen what happens when they are grown..when i said that I did adult counseling..I neglected to state where. I work for the Tennessee Department of Correction. I counsel Murderers , rapists, druggies, thieves and any other case of moral turpitude that you can think of..More often than not those individuals were disorderly as students. Evidentially the schools have a hards off policy..we see where that gets us.

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