Comments about ‘Utah schools see benefits of release time, including smaller class sizes’

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Published: Sunday, Aug. 14 2011 12:33 a.m. MDT

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freedomforthepeople
Sandy, UT

This is not just about it being nice to have smaller class sizes as a result of "release time" (mostly LDS seminary). There are two huge benefits to the district and the taxpayer:
1. Without it, they would have to build more schools, not just have larger class sizes. They would need to increase by 1/8 the student load, and most schools could not accomodate that increase.

2. The schools get paid the full WPU even though they are only educating the students for 7/8 of the full-time student schedule. This is a great deal for the schools.

Lately there has been a new rule introduced regarding "release time" and warning against "religious entanglements" in the schools.

As long as the opportunity is fairly applied to all religions, and all students are offered the opportunity for religious education if they wish to be released for it, there is nothing wrong with schools making release time available.

And it is a HUGE benefit to our public schools. It would be cool if more religions could participate, and it would be good for our students, too.

jp3
Salt Lake City, UT

I'm here to clarify class size in Granite School District. As a teacher at a junior high school in the district, I really wish class size averaged 28.5 students per teacher and as the writer of this article states, "usually lower." In reality, when a school averages the teacher to student ratio, they basically count every adult in the school as a "teacher," including counselors, administration, etc. This is why the average appears to be manageable. As an English teacher, my class sizes this year will average about 37 students per class, as has been the case for the past several years. Multiply that by the 6 classes I teacher and I've got 222 students--too many for one teacher.

Sikeli
Herriman, UT

The lie about class size in Utah is that they count classes that should not count. Teachers' prep times count as a class size of zero, even though there are no students present. Librarians count as a teacher because they work with students. Librarians count as a zero sized class since they don't have assigned students. After you take these numbers into account, the real class sizes are larger.

Coach P
Provo, UT

Parents need to know that whatever the class load size report is (say 25.5 for your high school) that in reality in regular track core courses that the classes are likely to be 10-15 students larger. I taught six classes and the smallest class I had was 33, the largest was 42, and my total class load for six classes was 230 students, or just over 38 per class. Again, this is typical in your regular track core classes say English 10, US History, Algebra, Biology etc. at many high schools across the state.

Also in regards to Seminary or Release Time, it can be a benefit to a school if the the majority of the students actually take Release Time Seminary. Some schools are staffed like that, even thought because of diverse populations, maybe 50% or less of the students actually take Seminary. Therefore, that school gets hammered because the districts often "assume" that everyone is taking Seminary when they make staffing decisions.

I guess I have a problem that Seminary is used as way to minimize class sizes versus funding schools properly.

IamMathman
Tooele, UT

More one-on-one time? That's a stretch of the imagination. So my classes are only 40 instead of 43-45. Yeah, that's so beneficial. A lot of my students enjoy their release time. They get their homework done.

Hutterite
American Fork, UT

This is a bizarre way to sell the idea of kids being taken out of school for religious education. They get credit for being out of school and also reduce the class size? How about funding education and keeping kids in school to learn, and they can get their churchin' after hours? We need more emphasis on the value of intelligence and education in society, and we need to stop seeing school as a distraction.

Rifleman
Salt Lake City, Utah

Re: Hutterite | 1:30 p.m. Aug. 14, 2011

Utah State law mandates the number of hours required for a student to graduate. Teachers in California are now mandated to teach gay history. A little education in religion to offset that propaganda can't hurt .... if its done on release time.

Nan BW
ELder, CO

The article failed to mention that release time improves the overall attitude and performance of many (not all) of the participants. That is probably far more beneficial than "reducing class size."

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

I don't want to rail on Seminary but sometimes it does NanBW and sometimes it doesn't. A lot of students sign up for seminary and sluff their classes non-stop. Some go to Seminary and their behavior doesn't improve one iota at school. Some students aren't LDS and they behave just fine in class.

So if I was a teacher I would still go with reducing class size. Plus not sure why the two (reducing class sizes for teachers and having Seminary) are mutually exclusive.

DeltaFoxtrot
West Valley, UT

Why is everyone so hung up with reducing class sizes?

When these kids get to college they are going to take Freshman and Sophomore level classes in auditoriums with hundreds of other students and if they pick a main line major like business they are never going to see a class smaller than 50.

One-on-one instruction time is a thing of the past. We've got too many students and not enough teachers. If primary school is supposed to prepare these kids for college why keep trying to reduce class sizes? If anything you should make classes larger.

Howard Beal
Provo, UT

Because the way they teach in college in those freshman and sophomore classes isn't that great either. A good share of college professors are lousy teachers.

However, most college classes I took were much smaller, some were even internship and in small research type settings. But yes, I took Biology 100 my freshman year in an auditorium of several hundred students. I got by but it could have been a lot better. I can't say I got a love or exceedingly great knowledge of the subject. Also DeltaFoxtrot, I would think that parents (could/should) have the best chance of teaching their child because they can simply can work with a their child one on one. Yes, class size makes a difference. Plus, most students don't go to university anyway and certainly need to be taught in a better way than they do in the first two years of university study.

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