01 August 2007

Class Size Reduction-History in WCCUSD & is it necessary?

--- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, "Kevin Rivard" <kfrivard@...>
wrote:

Thank you Charley for finding the information below for Greg. It just
shows
what powerful resources the people on this site are when information
like
this can be found, because of the vast experience and knowledge of
those who
read and contribute to the site.

Greg, I was opposed to Class Size Reduction (CSR) at the time because
of the
lack of concrete stats as to whether CSR actually worked, but more
than that
when CSR was imposed upon the schools by our board, the carrot, more
money
for the school and more teacher jobs available, forced our school
sites to
take over space that was being used for other things. Some schools
used
their libraries to fulfill the CSR space requirement. Some used
storage
lockers that were just big enough for the kids. Some turned their
multi-purpose rooms into classrooms. Every nook and cranny was being
used
whether it was educationally sound or not. The call from the district
was,
we don't care how you get it done, just get it done. Then the CSR
encroached
on the Bond program by designing one-third more classrooms at each
redesigned school raising the cost of each reborn school. All of this
because someone THOUGHT it was a good idea to teach in smaller
classrooms,
which has never been definitively proven one way or the other.

One person mentioned, in response to my thoughts on CSR that, isn't
it
better to have a teacher watching a smaller classroom of kids rather
than a
room crammed with 30 kids. My response to that is, if you want your
kid in a
day care center fine, but when I sent my kids to school I sent them
there
for an EDUCATION not to be in a free day care center. If they can
learn in
an environment with a capable teacher and 30 kids and have more money
spent
on tools to help the teacher with the kids education I would rather
that
then, in a class of 20 with an incompetent teacher with no tools to
help her
or him teach my kid.

When CSR was instituted the worst thing that happened was not the
lack of
space, not the lack of full funding from the state, not the robbing
of Bond
money for additional classrooms in our newly renovated school, but
the fact
that there were not enough bodies to fill the roll of teachers so we
had the
biggest influx of, under qualified non credentialed teachers in the
history
of our schools, teaching our kids.

Oh wait Kevin, some will say, CSR classrooms were filled by some of
our most
experienced teachers.
Those people are correct. Teachers with the most experience flocked
to the
CSR classrooms so they could teach only 20 kids instead of 30. So
Greg guess
where the under qualified, non credentialed teachers went. To the
then
available 4th to 6th grades for the most part. Some of those teachers
have
stayed and through on the job experience with our kids have become
hopefully
good teachers. But a lot got burned out for lack of proper training
and
support and left. In the mean time those kids that benefited from CSR
went
on into those, on the job training teachers, after CSR and in my
opinion
lost a lot of benefit of CSR, if there was any, in those 4th to 6th
grade
years.

There is so much to be looked at with CSR but there is little
studying being
done and our district could have been a study lab for that
experiment. But
then again it is our kids who would have been and are the guinea pigs
for
that experiment. I personally do not like the idea of my kids being
guinea
pigs but then again I never saw, nor expected school to be a
glorified day
care center. I sent my kids to school to be educated not experimented
upon.

That is why I opted for Independent Study for my kids.

Kevin


>This is the site for the State-mandated research program that
concluded in
>2002 that the connection between achievement and CSR was
inconclusive at
>that time:
>
>http://www.classize.org/
>
>This report was invoked a lot last year when there was some
discussion at
>the State level for extending CSR to other grades. It doesn't
actually
>call
>for the elimination of the program, but makes suggestions for
changing it.

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